Two North Queensland Greyhound Racing clubs, Cairns and Mackay are due to meet Greyhounds Queensland’s deadline to ‘show cause’ by close of business tomorrow, when the clubs’ viability will be carefully weighed before their future is determined.
The restructure is part of a big picture plan to boost the industry, which is likely to see broader SKY Channel television coverage of Queensland and North Queensland greyhound meetings and greater TAB involvement and support for meetings.
Chair of Greyhounds Queensland (GQL), Kerry Watson has stated previously that if the Cairns and Mackay clubs fail to show cause tomorrow as to why their operations should be allowed to continue, then the clubs will face possible de‐registration from June 30, 2009.
“The Cairns Club submitted their application last week, so it was great to see the proactive approach they have taken in responding,” she said.
Closure for the Mackay and Cairns clubs would see the Townsville Greyhound Racing Club become the centre of excellence for Greyhound Racing in North Queensland.
Ms. Watson said the body was acting in the best interests of the industry, which hopes to increase long‐term support through club consolidation.
“We nominated our Cairns and Mackay branches to show cause due to their continued low greyhound racing nominations, limited registered participant rates, declining race day patronage and low turnover,” Ms Watson said.
“Over the past year, Greyhounds Queensland has injected considerable support into these clubs through constant monitoring and encouragement, but to no avail.
“We’re committed to enhancing and strengthening greyhound racing and believe that through consolidating clubs, current racing hubs like Bundaberg, Rockhampton and Townsville will maintain a strong future,” Ms Watson said.
“These recent moves are part of a plan to improve support on a national level and to ensure industry growth.”
“There has been great concern as to the future of the greyhounds with owners suggesting these animals we need to be put down. We do not believe this is the case, they will have the option to travel to another club to race or our Greyhound adoption program is available.”
At present, there is no TAB coverage of greyhound racing in North Queensland, which hinders community support and limits returns for greyhound owners and trainers. Townsville Greyhound Club President, Kate Miles, said the industry will be given a significant boost should Townsville become North Queensland’s racing hub, which would see it would become a dedicated SKY Channel venue with full TAB coverage.
“We’re extremely excited about the possibility of Townsville attracting increased TAB support and SKY channel coverage, which is something that we have been seeking for over 30 years,” Ms Miles said.
“We understand that asking these clubs to show cause has come as a result of a long and hard decision process from the Greyhounds Queensland board, but we believe making North Queensland greyhound racing highly accessible to all Australian punters will be an industry milestone and guarantee the its long‐term viability.”
Mackay Club is due to respond in writing to Greyhounds Queensland by close of business tomorrow, Wednesday May 6, 2009, at which time the Board will then consider all submissions before an outcome is determined.
The Cairns Club responded last week and their submission currently sits with the Board.