GWIC Opens The Books For NSW Greyhound Participants

Nsw greyhound racing

Last week the NSW Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) was under increasing pressure from media figureheads and GRNSW over the costs of its operations. Even its own minister was flagging potential issues over the cost of the NSW greyhound welfare reforms under GWIC.

With the NSW statutory review into the the sustainability and viability of the industry looming, AustralianRacingGreyhound called on both GWIC and Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) to be transparent on their financial decision making so as to provide participants detailed information on revenue and expenses at both organisations.

While those calls fell on deaf ears at GRNSW, GWIC has taken less than a week to open the books, at least partially, for NSW greyhound participants to “provide clarity and transparency” in relation to the cost of greyhound welfare and integrity functions in NSW.

GWIC’s cash outlays were $16.42 million in the 2019/20 financial year and $15.66 million in 2018/19. The increase from the prior year is largely due to employment costs associated with staff that were not in place at the commencement of the Commission on 1 July 2018.

GWIC receives funding from four sources comprising a grant from the NSW government, a distribution from Point of Consumption Tax (POCT) on wagering, a direct contribution from GRNSW, and own source revenue generated directly from registration fees.

GWIC Source of Funding

Funding Source Financial Year 19/20 Financial Year 18/19 Change
GRNSW $8.403 million $9.187 million -14%
State government grants $3 million $5.201 million* -73%
Point of Consumption Tax on wagering $4 million $2 million +100%
Total grants and contributions $15.403 million $16.388 million -6%
Own source revenue from registrations $0.660 million $0.326 million +49%
Total funding $16.063 million $16.714 million -4%

*cash figure only, does not include in-kind contributions from Department of Industry

In January 2019, an independent review conducted by the Department of Industry determined that the average costs of integrity and welfare functions conducted by GRNSW in the three years preceding the commencement of the GWIC was $13.89 million.

In 2019/20 GRNSW paid $8.4 million to the GWIC for integrity and welfare functions, $5.49 million less than the costs previously incurred by GRNSW for the same functions and almost $0.8 million less than GRNSW paid to GWIC in 2018/19.

Media commentators have also recently claimed that Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) spends only $10 million on integrity and welfare and has more tracks, more dogs and more participants than NSW. To fact check these claims, the Commission has produced a comparison of key elements of the industry and integrity and welfare costs reported in NSW and Victoria.

Greyhound Integrity & Welfare Costs – Victoria (GRV) vs NSW (GWIC)

Element of Comparison GRV GWIC NSW Comment
Racing Data
No. of tracks 13 32 Significantly more tracks in NSW
No. of race meetings 1,189 1,153 Comparable
No. of races 13,777 11,399 Less than Victoria due to GRV conducting 12 races per meeting as opposed to the standard 10 in NSW.
No. of unique greyhounds raced 6,860 6,520 Comparable
Greyhound Data
No. of greyhound pups whelped/registered 4,533 3,747 Slightly more, with NSW coming off the back of the ban.
No. of greyhounds registered and under the jurisdiction of the controlling body 7,919 greyhounds in training, as per IER study in 2015-16 26,842 GWIC has legislative jurisdiction over every greyhound owned and kept by registered participants.This means the total dog population under the control of GWIC is much larger than other jurisdictions.
Participant Data
No. of participants 15,000 2,970 custodial participants and 25,000 owners Much higher population of participants in NSW
Oragnisational Data
Number of Full Time Equivalent employees who work on welfare and integrity functions 71 67 Comparable
Geographical size of State 227,444 kms 801,105 kms The Victorian industry is centralised within a much smaller geographical footprint compared to NSW, where the industry, both tracks and participants are spread over a vast geographical area.
Welfare and integrity expenditure $19.3 million, with Commission estimate of like for like costs of $15.3 million $15.6 million The Commission has endevoured to compare the cost of like for like functions but because of differences in respective organisations it’s difficult to accurately reconcile.
Welfare and integrity cost per track Indeterminate $0.49 million
Welfare and integrity cost per unique greyhound raced Indeterminate $2.40

That comparison shows that NSW operates vastly more tracks and has jurisdiction over a much larger number of greyhounds due to the GWIC’s integrity and welfare programs covering all greyhounds, including retired greyhounds owned by industry participants.

GWIC notes that GRV reported a cost of $19.3 million for its integrity and welfare functions in the 2018/19 financial year. GWIC has endeavoured to compare the cost of “like for like” functions with GRV’s costs. The arrived-at figure of $15.3 million appears reasonable, although differences in the respective organisations make it difficult to accurately reconcile.

Since inception the GWIC has produced regular reports to inform the industry of key measures, including breeding data, injury data, retirement data and the outcomes of disciplinary actions. GWIC’s Annual Report also contains detailed information about its program costs, outcomes and comprehensive financial accounts.

GWIC says that it “welcomes informed discussion about its operations and performance and invites all interested stakeholders to engage with it on these issues. The Commission also invites suggestions about the development of further analysis that could be produced to deepen understanding of the industry’s performance”.

GWIC advises that all requests for financial and recorded data can be directed to [email protected]

So there it is. Less than a week after we called for transparent reporting on industry revenue and expenses from GWIC and GRNSW, GWIC has delivered a broad outline of its current financials. Sure, there could be more detail, but it is a good starting point.

The ball is now firmly in the GRNSW court.

Will GRNSW be transparent on spending and revenue?

Or will we have to wait until its Annual Reports are published later in the year to understand what is behind the current GRNSW and GWIC tiff?

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