What does Paul Toole as NSW Racing Minister mean for greyhounds?

STATE Bathurst MP Paul Toole has been announced as the Racing Minister following a cabinet reshuffle which took place under new NSW’s Premier, Gladys Berejiklian.

The news was met with dismay by many greyhound racing participants, with Toole on record as a supporter of former Premier Mike Baird’s now defunct greyhound racing ban.

Toole voted with his coalition colleagues to bring in the ban when the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill passed through the lower house in early August.

Despite conversing with innocent participants who were set to lose their livelihoods, Toole ignored their pleas and voted with his party in banning the sport.

“While I strongly condemn the unacceptable treatment of greyhounds, I am concerned by the impact that the Government’s decision will have on members of my community who have done the right thing,” Toole said at the time.

“Since the Government’s announcement on 7 July 2015, I have met with stakeholders from across the industry, including trainers, owners, breeders, veterinarians, suppliers and members of the community who enjoy a punt, and even with people who have never been to a greyhound race in their lives.

“I have listened to their concerns. I understand and deeply regret their personal fears and their fears about the financial impact that this decision will have on them. There are strong and diverse views in my electorate and I have taken all of them on board.

“I have read every letter and the representations that have been sent to my office. I have raised those concerns directly with those involved. I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that the necessary support and assistance will be forthcoming to those law-abiding members of the industry whose livelihoods are changed.

“I am committed to ensuring that there is a smooth transition and that support is provided for various circumstances.

“I acknowledge that for many in the industry greyhound racing is more than just an income, more than just a job and more than just a hobby. The greyhounds that they care for and train have become part of their family.

“The greyhounds that race represent their hard work, their passion and their life. I acknowledge also that for some greyhound owners the industry has been all that they have known. That is why I am committed to assisting my constituents to access the necessary support available through a transition process.”

Whilst Baird announced the ban would be reversed last October, there have been far reaching side effects for the government over the past few months.

In November, the Nationals Party lost the seat of Orange for the first time since 1947, with the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party’s Phil Donato clinching victory by 50 votes.

The massive swing against the Nationals cost former Deputy Premier and leader of the Nationals Troy Grant, who was also the former Racing Minister, his job, with the Dubbo MP stepping down as leader and replaced with John Barilaro.

Then, on January 18, Mike Baird announced his resignation as Premier and from politics effective immediately, citing family reasons for his departure.

The NSW Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill is still yet to be officially repealed, however it is expected to happen soon after Parliament resumes for the year next month.

Past Discussion

  1. lone widow John Tracey spyman   PS unplaced prize money of a dog for every dog. That way people could race dogs that are not that fast and still afford to feed them. Money comes from taking 10% off some of the really big races where the prize money ends up in the same few hands.

  2. lone widow John Tracey spyman  PSS go back to the days where you could nominate a dog as a wide or inside runner might cut injuries down as well.

  3. lone widow John Tracey spyman I will try and follow this up we need to know what is the stress on the hock with greyhounds travelling fast on a straight run at various speeds as well.My understanding was that strains on the hock

    generally caused greenstick injuries that with constant running under pressure developed into the hock breaking down. The reduction in hock injuries could be avoided to some degree by greyhounds only galloping under pressure with a fortnights break between runs. We came to this decision to avoid having to X-Ray a greyhound after every run to pick up the start of the greenstick injuries. The process was expensive and time consuming but also it was amazing how many vets did not pick up the injuries from x-rays.

    The studies on racehorses previously in the Scientist (over ten years) concluded that serious injuries were a function of how fast a horse can gallop. The loss of bone density in favour of muscle made the horse faster but more fragile.

    Gillette still operates he was instrumental in some degree to supporting uphill straight tracks as the superior form of exercise. The horses in general folllowed this lead on their preparation centres.

    The English videos showing the stride and timing of running shows me that the way I have seen the racing greyhound is not the way in reality he races so I am on a learning curve myself. I do not have the practical recent knowledge and the way I used to train greyhounds was not commercially viable for people wanting to be professional. I would have been about K per year out of pocket (in modern money)but I was spending less than my friends who were drinking and smoking. I only had one hock injury in thirty years and I raced on all types of tracks. 

  4. lone widow John Tracey spyman You must also factor in The “G” forces the Greyhound is expecting ,to do this you need to multiply this by the elevated “Gs” !

  5. BobWhitelaw lone widow John Tracey spyman Centre of excellences by definitions (other than a public service buzz word) to be a place of learning that overcomes the disadvantage of advancements due to small entities suffering through economies of scale.

    The Country Clubs Association in its early deputation to the Minister for Gaming and Racing put forward a minority view that as the non tab clubs had been granted 20% of the off course wagering receipts over 99 years as a payment in the greyhound and public interest that everyone would be advantaged if the greyhounds non tab could have their money annexed as a first charge off the Tab Wagering receipts and run their sector similar to how the Horses ran theirs. The association wanted the matter discussed as a minority view of the clubs as the clubs in the main were conservative and risk adverse and in any case wanted to be in the main game.

    The department attitude was that the greyhounds were too small a concern and that economies of scale would prevent an idea like this from being practical. The Minister did agree to talk to GRNSW about the need for them to address regional developments and the need for them to be active with regard to funding available to the industry for water,electricity and other associated grants. The Minister asked the Country Clubs Association why they were getting involved in Water other campaigns for funding when it was clearly within the province of GRNSW.

    The attitude of the public service generally to greyhound racing that it was too small to spend much time worrying about. The harness was small as well but it carried some gloss from the horse racing that was regarded as big business. Also the total of tax commission receipts received in NSW by the greyhounds through wagering for the total of NSW only equals the receipts from many individual poker machine clubs. One  poker machine club in the Sydney suburbs alone had more returns from poker machine wagering profits than the total NSW received for all wagering receipts from the TAB. So the type of centre of excellence produced by poker machine clubs cannot be financially provided by racetracks in NSW. I not that this position might be different in Victoria where the development of poker machine clubs is not as mature.

    For a centre of excellence to exist in Australia at a reasonable level to take advantage of an economy of scale , you could only have one research centre for the whole of the Country.

    Greyhound racing has large cultural roots as an activity and the culture is widely spread throughout the country. In America coursing did not take a significant root partly due to the diminishing of British interests associated with revolutions. 

    While the theory of the need for single centres of excellence irrespective of the costs to some degree is widely held there is also a modern situation that allows a centre of excellence to be a research unit and financially viable in its own right.

    For example football grounds are reduced to essentials and to cater for an average surburban crowd. This allows the removal of excess infrastructure for normal events and reduces the cost of health and safety requirements and general maintenance. When a match requiring the seating of many people is required then a centre of excellence can cater for this. With scheduling for example one centre stadium could cater for say many sporting codes using ovals and requiring capacity for say 100,000 spectators. With agreements between the codes on usage the infrastructure to house this many people at various sessions. 

    Greyhound crowds vary from under 100 to 6,000 (new year Western Australia). There is a potential in Metropolitan areas for a build up of average numbers if the growing tourist markets can be tapped. There is also a potential to use tracks for other purposes.

    There are two tracks in Hong Kong (horses) Happy Valley (closes to the metropolitan centre and one further out. Happy Valley has 19 serious partners using the Racetrack. The inside oval contains building and sporting fields and there are ribbons of circles around the track for various activities including jogging. The other track at Sha Tin has the large seating capacity and carries the international events. The food is generally two choices only.

  6. Deborah555 lone widow John Tracey spyman Hi Deborah, The minimalist approach to infrastructure on greyhound tracks is the way to go because the cost of OHS and maintenance is non productive if the facilities are not fully used. The mechanical greyhounds got off to a bad start by duplicating the overseas models where kennels were build to house dogs on tracks under contract to the clubs. In the early days when clubs were asked why they needed control kennels on course the main answer given was to stop trainers taking their dogs home if they drew a bad box on course. What you are doing with kennels is trying to make an unsafe area more safe by throwing money at it. My point would be build hospitality areas for both dogs and connections to combine and with technology dogs should be able to be checked prior to racing.

    The Forbes district had a good solution to OHS and race crowds generally, they had mobile stands that were moved from location to location depending on the anticipated increase in crowd volumes. (for example the crowd increase for Camel racing on Good Friday).

    The bong bong picnic racing had the second largest race crowds of an event in NSW previously and was run on practically bare ground with imported facilities.

    It was reported some time age that Casino had inherited 40 new greyhound concerns of about 5 acres each. If all these properties all put a straight track on their areas then the cost would be collectively large and take up a lot of the water reserves. If the construction poor the watering could cause three roots to appear under the surface and cause more welfare problems. If the greyhound ran the straight track then there would be a great economy of scale and improved animal welfare. This situation would not be as good for trainers if they had to travel great distances to use the facility.

    Graders used to consider the welfare of the greyhound when discretionary grading existed. The race clubs in America would be mindful of the safety of the greyhounds as they would understand the economics of replacing or maintaining a greyhound in their care so the programming at least would take this into account. IN NSW the racing authorities were very down on trainers scratching greyhounds so the previous practice of trainers scratching dogs when they could see by the draw that dogs were in danger through the draw was heavily penalised. It seems to me with practically no pre post betting on dogs that scratchings and replacement reserves should be allowed. There needs to be an ethics panel that examines and allows withdrawal of dogs on application from the trainer showing that the starting of his dog would potentially cause a trauma in a race.

    Trainers of horses are allowed to negotiate scratchings due to conditions much easier. 

  7. Deborah555 lone widow John Tracey spyman Hi Deborah, The minimalist approach to infrastructure on greyhound tracks is the way to go because the cost of OHS and maintenance is non productive if the facilities are not fully used. The mechanical greyhounds got off to a bad start by duplicating the overseas models where kennels were build to house dogs on tracks under contract to the clubs. In the early days when clubs were asked why they needed control kennels on course the main answer given was to stop trainers taking their dogs home if they drew a bad box on course. What you are doing with kennels is trying to make an unsafe area more safe by throwing money at it. My point would be build hospitality areas for both dogs and connections to combine and with technology dogs should be able to be checked prior to racing.

    The Forbes district had a good solution to OHS and race crowds generally, they had mobile stands that were moved from location to location depending on the anticipated increase in crowd volumes. (for example the crowd increase for Camel racing on Good Friday).

    The Bong Bong picnic racing had the second largest race crowds of an event in NSW previously and was run on practically bare ground with imported facilities.

    It was reported some time age that Casino had inherited 40 new greyhound concerns of about 5 acres each. If all these properties  put a straight track on their areas then the cost would be collectively large and take up a lot of the water reserves. If the construction was poor the watering could cause tree roots to appear under the surface and cause more welfare problems. If the greyhound clubs collectively ran the straight track then there would be a great economy of scale and improved animal welfare. This situation would not be as good for trainers if they had to travel great distances to use the facility.

    Graders used to consider the welfare of the greyhound when discretionary grading existed. The race clubs in America would be mindful of the safety of the greyhounds as they would understand the economics of replacing or maintaining a greyhound in their care so the programming at least would take this into account. IN NSW the racing authorities were very down on trainers scratching greyhounds so the previous practice of trainers scratching dogs when they could see by the draw that dogs were in danger through the draw was heavily penalised. It seems to me with practically no pre post betting on dogs that scratchings and replacement reserves should be allowed. There needs to be an ethics panel that examines and allows withdrawal of dogs on application from the trainer showing that the starting of his dog would potentially cause a trauma in a race.

    Trainers of horses are allowed to negotiate scratchings due to conditions much easier. 

    If you decide to allow people outside of the greyhounds to take the responsibility for the care of retired greyhound placement then  the animal welfare will still haunt you for greyhounds substituting for other animals they could take care of. If the greyhound owners duck their responsibility then the industry will get rid of all the people who keep their greyhounds and defray the costs of those that do not. The people at the top need to continue to be a part of the solution as well..

  8. John Tracey Deborah555 lone widow spyman John i believe those people at the top have been the problem and if they continue down the path they have lead us, we won’t  need any solutions,we will be gone. As for welfare there should be a Minister for Animal Welfare ,if the RSPCA can generate 100 million  in profits  each year and pay no Tax  and give back to the community  NOTHING!.” why not the Government “They turned a Charity into a Million dollar Business and want to criticize the Greyhound industry for their animal ethics when their own are not much better? but as they say money is power and that’s one area we have failed at ,generating good income for ourselves while supporting the other two codes of racing. Its a area the Government of the day could take control of, if they wanted too, but are being Stood Over by those at the TOP, not much will change, but i hope i’am wrong ! 

  9. BobWhitelaw John Tracey Deborah555 lone widow spyman The special commission report deals with performance in a narrow sense and not in structure, this was very unhelpful as you have mentioned in structural problems with Charity) . In an industrial downsizing parties will always take up personal scores initially  as a human reaction. The above does not excuse poor performance but conduct can be fixed in the short term. The Parliament should have explained to racing what the original reform was really about instead of putting spin on its purpose and confusing everyone. The reform was a follow up of the Kennett reforms in Victoria that included the corporation of the public service and competition policy. When Kennett got rolled in 1999 State Governments and the Feds lost their zeal and things got really complicated. (like today)

    The ineffectual 15 year review and the reforms to allow greater benefits to clubs and pubs (Poker Machines and Tax concessions) were successfully lobbied by the liquor , pubs and Poker Machine clubs and included in the parliamentary debates and amendments at the time. The Government were convinced that the 15 year review would be ineffective as far as the poker machine licences were concerned and were also convinced that the system of review would fail in Victoria. The opposite was the case with the review even advantaging the greyhounds in Victoria further with also a legacy of decades of infrastructure and reserves over and above greyhounds elsewhere.

    Best of luck.

  10. John Tracey Deborah555 lone widow spyman John I’ve just read a letter to the Premier, the Deputy, and the racing Minister from the Australian Sports & Racing Party  in respect to the Reform Panel and saying that  the participants have been not been allowed to voice their thoughts to Iemma .They are claiming the Process has been controlled by our Alliance rep on the panel, and has deluded them into thinking that he is an honest man by being selective on who address Iemma. This  letter to the Government is very damaging  for the industry to move forward.John as i said   before  the Alliance does  not speak for majority of the participants, and one must look at their form  and its damaging !

  11. BobWhitelaw John Tracey Deborah555 lone widow spyman Thanks Bob is this letter on the public record and also have they put a submission in to the reform panel?. I would been interested in reading it. The Government Agencies normally read the various participant talk back sites as from time to time I have received comments. I have stuck to the Australian Greyhound Racing and the Roar and I read through the other sites from time to time as well. I have sent e-mails to the Alliance as well but only on structural things as I am not up to date with the actual racing.

    The Roar has got over 200 replies in a short period to Nathan’s last post. 

    I agree that participants should have the chance to read all the submissions to the reform panel and have time to rebut items if they so wish.

    The above was what was a fundamental flaw in the special commission report. The report did not show exhibits that would have showed statistics out of context. The report depended on National Figures from a National Body who’s Directors had been sacked in three States that had the majority vote on the National Committee. It is difficult to believe that they were so hopeless at the State Level but noble representatives at the National Level. Also the report would have been seen originally by public servants making executive summaries if submission after they had got up a zeal through watching videos.

    The Government obviously wants the whole greyhound thing to go away quickly so you really need to put your views or political lobbying in quickly.

    Your views have been well broadcasted. For others there has been no armed guard stopping them being heard..