Three weeks of massive industry changes…and it’s far from over

THE live-baiting scandal has plunged the sport of greyhound racing into turmoil with participants nationwide struggling to pick up the pieces of their decimated industry.



However, maybe the whole fiasco is exactly what was needed to incite the changes required so the entire industry can move forward onto a brighter future.



Just over three weeks have passed since the infamous Four Corners program titled ‘Making A Killing’ aired on our televisions and, since then, a world of change has already occurred within the sport.

The latest developments came on Thursday, with the announcement CEO of GRNSW Brent Hogan had resigned from his position. This comes after the the announcement on the February 18, which saw Hogan and the entire board were stood down or sacked by NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant. Since that time, Paul Newson has been appointed as the Interim CEO of GRNSW.

Eleven participants have been suspended within the state and Newson acted swiftly to show his zero-tolerance attitude towards live-baiting, suspending 36 greyhounds associated with suspended participants around the country.

“There is absolutely no escaping that greyhound racing in NSW has lost its social license and it must be confronted,” Newson said.



“GRNSW has recently suspended 11 participants and 36 greyhounds. One of the messages I want to convey is that there are no apologies for that action. 



“My immediate task is to attempt and strive to recover, to claw back that loss of social license and to reinstall the integrity of the sport. 



“From our perspective, it is entirely appropriate and necessary to suspend a greyhound where there is any possibility that it may have been exposed to the practise of live-baiting.”

In addition to the suspensions and the changes within the structure of GRNSW, the NSW Government announced last week a Special Commission of Inquiry to investigate issues of animal welfare and integrity within the NSW greyhound industry.

It is set to be led by Justice Michael McHugh and will have the same wide-ranging powers of a Royal Commission, also calling upon heavy hitters in the police, greyhound racing and animal welfare industries.



What has happened in NSW was to be expected. After all, how can the community regain their faith and confidence in the industry unless sweeping changes are made to ensure a fiasco such as this never happens again?

Similar changes have also been initiated in Victoria. On Wednesday, barely a fortnight after GRV Chairman Peter Caillaird stood down, further shockwaves from the live-baiting scandal continued to be felt within the halls of Greyhound Racing Victoria. News broke that the rest of the GRV Board had resigned with the announcement that Interim Chair Michael Harris and Board Members Jenni Coustley, Geoff Miles and Stephen Silk had all handed in their resignations just moments after Racing Commissioner Sal Perna cleared them of any wrong doing in relation to the live-baiting saga.



Perna made the announcement as part of his interim report from an independent investigation into industry participants within the state. He dismissed the industry was involved in corruption or cover-ups and said there was no evidence the GRV Board, the CEO or Senior Management knew about the practice of live-baiting within Victoria. While there was no evidence to claim live-baiting is a wide-spread activity, Perna also mentioned there was going to be no assumption it was restricted to just the Tooradin Trial track.

The former board have now been replaced by a team of three, headed by Ray Gunston, the former CFO of Tatts Group and the Interim CEO of the Essendon Football Club. 



Gunston knows a thing or two about helping an organisation through difficult times. He was called in as the Interim CEO of Essendon after Ian Robson quit mid-season following on from the drugs scandal which continues to rock the AFL club. 


Gunston will be joined on the new Board by Judith Bornstein, a prominent Melbourne Barrister with experience in a diverse range of employment and industrial relations issues. Prior to beginning her legal career she was an elected union official, a Commissioner of the Industrial Relations Commission of Victoria and a sessional conciliator for The Australian Industrial Relations Commission.



The third member of the GRV Board is Ken Lay, the former Victorian Police Chief Commissioner who was widely respected in his role which he held for three years. 



The old board’s resignation comes after 15 registered Victorian participants were stood down last month following vision aired in the ABC’s Four Corners program which exposed the practice of live-baiting in action at the Tooradin Trial track. 

Since then, Victoria has already acted to strengthen welfare and integrity concerns within the greyhound racing industry with Minister for Racing Martin Pakula and Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, announcing a broad investigation into animal welfare and allegations of animal cruelty within the sport.

This was on top of Perna’s independent investigation.

The Victorian Government has also allocated up to $3 million from the Victorian Racing Infrastructure Fund towards strengthening GRV’s animal welfare and integrity measures.

At present, GRV CEO Adam Wallish still remains in the top job.

Racing Queensland’s reaction to the live baiting scandal has seen 13 participants stood down after the Four Corners footage was aired, with five of those warned-off for life on March 2.

Racing Queensland also announced a new welfare levy on all greyhound prize money and subsidies following on from the scandal, aiming to raise more than $1.6 million in additional funding.

However, their actions aside from enforcing the measures mentioned above have been questionable. The authorities seized approximately 100 greyhounds from the properties of suspended participants, however there has still been no public announcement as to where these dogs are being kept or what the future holds for them.

Further to this, the full Board and CEO remain untouched at Racing Queensland, with just one person being stood down from the authority body, Chief Integrity Officer Wade Birch.

Alarmingly, Racing Queensland have also made moves to discontinue promotion of the greyhound industry, removing all mention of the code from the ‘Girls on Track’ series, something that was intended to unite the three racing codes within the state.

The Queensland State government announced an independent review into animal welfare issues within the state’s greyhound racing industry earlier this month, but it is yet to be revealed whether this investigation will result in any changes amongst RQ figure heads.

Australian Racing Greyhound has previously called for the chairs, the chief executive officers and the chief stewards from the three authority boards to either stand down or be removed. While this is yet to be fully executed, it seems the industry, the government and the controlling bodies themselves are starting to realise something needs to be done to repair the sport’s image and build it back up to the respected industry it once was.

One thing is for certain, aside from the industry ceasing entirely, things can’t get much worse than they are at present. By making these changes the industry is ensuring it is showing a willingness to change and it is on the right track back to success.

Past Discussion

  1. I’m told by friends up North that RQ need to do something as they have created a huge problem.
    At the start of it for the first 6 to 8 days they had 100 dogs in one place and only 3 people looking after them, so the dogs were only let out for half an hour morning and night to empty out which meant they were kennelled for 23 hours out of 24, so who needs to be looked at now with regards animal welfare. Perhaps somebody could confirm this?

  2. I’m told by friends up North that RQ need to do something as they have created a huge problem.

    At the start of it for the first 6 to 8 days they had 100 dogs in one place and only 3 people looking after them, so the dogs were only let out for half an hour morning and night to empty out which meant they were kennelled for 23 hours out of 24, so who needs to be looked at now with regards animal welfare. Perhaps somebody in Qld could be brave enough to confirm this?

  3. i was in an news agency today and seen a magazine with a bloke getting a photo taken of him with his hunting dogs and a wild pig that was hanging off the back of a ute two sets of rules

  4. i was in an news agency today and seen a magazine with a bloke getting a photo taken of him with his hunting dogs and a wild pig that was hanging off the back of a ute two sets of rules

  5. No wheels have fallen off in our state. All our noses must be clean, no one has resigned, dog meetings still going ahead with no hiccups and I see the punters are still very interested.

  6. No wheels have fallen off in our state. All our noses must be clean, no one has resigned, dog meetings still going ahead with no hiccups and I see the punters are still very interested.

  7. In my opinion, the Racing Queensland Board, CEO and senior management need to be removed/dismissed/stood down immediately. If they had done the job they were employed and/or appointed to do, the Qld greyhound industry wouldn’t be in this mess.
    Their ridiculous reactions i.e. seizing dogs, statutory declarations for owners and trainers, moratoriums that stated one thing and then a few hours later included something else – talk about sloppy – clearly demonstrates their incompetence and lack of regard for the Qld greyhound racing industry. 
    I’m sure a regular sentiment heard in the hallowed RQ offices must be “thank goodness for voicemail, at least we don’t have to actually speak to our stakeholders or the people who provide the “product” that gives us a job.

  8. In my opinion, the Racing Queensland Board, CEO and senior management need to be removed/dismissed/stood down immediately. If they had done the job they were employed and/or appointed to do, the Qld greyhound industry wouldn’t be in this mess.

    Their ridiculous reactions i.e. seizing dogs, statutory declarations for owners and trainers, moratoriums that stated one thing and then a few hours later included something else – talk about sloppy – clearly demonstrates their incompetence and lack of regard for the Qld greyhound racing industry. 

    I’m sure a regular sentiment heard in the hallowed RQ offices must be “thank goodness for voicemail, at least we don’t have to actually speak to our stakeholders or the people who provide the “product” that gives us a job.

  9. Allen he was already pushed from the start,and now he’s had enough and resigned,another scape goat for others who still haven’t an should resign or be sacked

  10. Allen he was already pushed from the start,and now he’s had enough and resigned,another scape goat for others who still haven’t an should resign or be sacked

  11. What about here in the Illawarra – the dapto slipping track is down to being locked up and only open from 4-6 of an afternoon… It’s a bloody disgrace what has happened in the industry but taking the facilities away from the average joe in the interim is just as bad for the greyhounds as it is for the trainers with limited access to training facilities.

  12. What about here in the Illawarra – the dapto slipping track is down to being locked up and only open from 4-6 of an afternoon… It’s a bloody disgrace what has happened in the industry but taking the facilities away from the average joe in the interim is just as bad for the greyhounds as it is for the trainers with limited access to training facilities.

  13. The Queensland situation is tragic. Industry participants are being punished but those who should be are the employees of Racing Queensland who turned a blind eye to what was going on. Where is our new racing minister? Why hasn’t he sacked them all.

  14. The Queensland situation is tragic. Industry participants are being punished but those who should be are the employees of Racing Queensland who turned a blind eye to what was going on. Where is our new racing minister? Why hasn’t he sacked them all.

  15. Administrators seem to copping heaps , you can remove all of them from every state and live baiting will still be there . People will always cheat when money is involved . I feel a little sorry for people losing their jobs . If you were one of the sickos live baiting your dogs you surely would be keeping it dark . Sadly there will be more footage of cruelty to come

  16. Administrators seem to copping heaps , you can remove all of them from every state and live baiting will still be there . People will always cheat when money is involved . I feel a little sorry for people losing their jobs . If you were one of the sickos live baiting your dogs you surely would be keeping it dark . Sadly there will be more footage of cruelty to come

  17. Thanks Again Katherine, worth a mention that the NSW enquiry with the powers of a royal commission headed by the ex High Court judge in NSW has Stephen Rushton SC (QC) as the council Assisting. Stephen Rushton was the council assisting ICAC in the NSW Greyhound Inquiry 2000 which amongst other things was heavily involved in animal welfare matters of unlawful drug profiling and led to a show cause of why  criminal charges under the agricultural acts ,maximum two years should not given. (see ICAC recommendations.) Mr Rushton would have a good knowledge of greyhound matters in 2000 as ICAC received more unsolicited  grievances( complaints) from Greyhund interests in 2000 that even the police department administration received (second highest in the State).

  18. Thanks Again Katherine, worth a mention that the NSW enquiry with the powers of a royal commission headed by the ex High Court judge in NSW has Stephen Rushton SC (QC) as the council Assisting. Stephen Rushton was the council assisting ICAC in the NSW Greyhound Inquiry 2000 which amongst other things was heavily involved in animal welfare matters of unlawful drug profiling and led to a show cause of why  criminal charges under the agricultural acts ,maximum two years should not given. (see ICAC recommendations.) Mr Rushton would have a good knowledge of greyhound matters in 2000 as ICAC received more unsolicited  grievances( complaints) from Greyhund interests in 2000 that even the police department administration received (second highest in the State).

  19. Are you so simple minded that you think someone killing an animal quickly with a gun is similar to someone tying an animal to a lure so that it can slowly die while it’s flung around a track repeatedly, being mauled repeatedly, each injury never enough to kill it, just causing more pain and slowly being it closer to death.  Give me a break you absolute moron.  There was a possum that had it’s spine snapped in half and it’s entrails were hanging out and it was sill alive.  That’s what happens when an animal is used in this fashion.  You think pig hunters rip the pigs body apart slowly while it’s sill alive?  You really are a genius.

  20. Are you so simple minded that you think someone killing an animal quickly with a gun is similar to someone tying an animal to a lure so that it can slowly die while it’s flung around a track repeatedly, being mauled repeatedly, each injury never enough to kill it, just causing more pain and slowly being it closer to death.  Give me a break you absolute moron.  There was a possum that had it’s spine snapped in half and it’s entrails were hanging out and it was sill alive.  That’s what happens when an animal is used in this fashion.  You think pig hunters rip the pigs body apart slowly while it’s sill alive?  You really are a genius.

  21. Hugh_ Just to expand further, There are different sets of rules and they revolve around the fact that there is a component of cruelty in the handling of animals for food, culling of animals etc. The law distinguishes between what is regarded as “necessary cruelty” and “unnecessary cruelty”. The Pig hunters actions are presumely within the law and the actions of the greyhound participants in blooding is a criminal offence. In racing blooding is regarded as an unnecessary cruelty. The extreme animal liberation groups see all slaughter of animals as “unnecessary cruelty”.
    The polls on whether greyhound racing should be banned or not are running at 72% for the ban and 28% against which is not a totally bad result for the greyhounds considering the trauma.

  22. Hugh_ Just to expand further, There are different sets of rules and they revolve around the fact that there is a component of cruelty in the handling of animals for food, culling of animals etc. The law distinguishes between what is regarded as “necessary cruelty” and “unnecessary cruelty”. The Pig hunters actions are presumely within the law and the actions of the greyhound participants in blooding is a criminal offence. In racing blooding is regarded as an unnecessary cruelty. The extreme animal liberation groups see all slaughter of animals as “unnecessary cruelty”.

    The polls on whether greyhound racing should be banned or not are running at 72% for the ban and 28% against which is not a totally bad result for the greyhounds considering the trauma.

  23. Difficult to overcome a culture where people think that cheats prosper particularly when the tall poppies get caught, we need a figure like the famous dog whisperer Caesar Milan to do graphic demonstrations of breaking in dogs and training them. ( it would be a million well spent).
    The people who have resigned have done the right thing, their work is regarded as being of a higher order under statutes and as such they carry a higher responsibility.(Live by the sword , die by the sword).
    Some of the people who have resigned from the boards have tried for year to get on boards in greyhounds to make a difference and obviously what has happened has been a great disappointment to them as well.

  24. Difficult to overcome a culture where people think that cheats prosper particularly when the tall poppies get caught, we need a figure like the famous dog whisperer Caesar Milan to do graphic demonstrations of breaking in dogs and training them. ( it would be a million well spent).

    The people who have resigned have done the right thing, their work is regarded as being of a higher order under statutes and as such they carry a higher responsibility.(Live by the sword , die by the sword).

    Some of the people who have resigned from the boards have tried for year to get on boards in greyhounds to make a difference and obviously what has happened has been a great disappointment to them as well.