THE future of Premier Mike Baird’s controversial ban on greyhound racing may be known as early as next week, with reports circulating the NSW Nationals Party are trying to formulate a new plan to reverse the ban prior to a party room meeting next Monday.
The move comes as the public continues to voice its concern with the Nationals, with many people feeling the party has abandoned its constituents in regional areas by supporting the ban.
MPs are now keen to contain the fallout from the ban and are hoping to avoid damage to the party’s support in the seat of Orange ahead of the by-election on November 12.
The Nationals have held the seat since 1937, however recent polls have indicated, at the very least, that a massive swing against the Party is on the cards.
While some MPs are said to be pushing for a complete reversal of the ban, The Australian reported other MPs had considered lodging a bill which would amend the legislation to grant a five-year extension, with specific targets in place for both breeding and welfare improvements.
Additionally, the amendment would also include a sunset clause which would see the legislation dissolved at the end of five years if the industry had complied with the aforementioned targets.
This plan would give Premier Baird the opportunity to demonstrate to the public that the government is willing to listen to the public on important issues without completely back-flipping on the ban.
Monday’s party room meeting is also set to put Deputy Premier and head of the Nationals, Troy Grant’s leadership to the test, with senior MPs John Barilaro and Paul Toole said to be sounding out support to contest for leadership.
Grant is expected to present a report on the compensation package to being proposed for the greyhound industry at the meeting, with reports suggesting he could face a leadership showdown as early as Tuesday morning if some sort of reversal is not proposed.
MPs are expected to spend the upcoming weekend in negotiations in regards to a single contender to put forward if the meeting on Monday night fails to see a consensus reached on the ban.
The Australian also reported that while some MPs are arguing that Grant has no option than to stand down, others are saying his position at the helm is salvageable if he is willing to compromise or back down on his support of the ban.
The reports surrounding the Nationals party come as NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley announced the Labor Party will introduce a new legislation to overturn the ban next Tuesday when parliament resumes.
Meanwhile, support for the industry continues to grow, with political commentator Paul Murray hosting a broadcast of his show Paul Murray Live from the Bathurst greyhound track on Thursday night.
A recent poll conducted by Australian Racing Greyhound indicated that 93 per cent of polled participants and supporters of the industry want the ban overturned, whilst just seven per cent argued that an extension on the ban would be fair.