Breeding set to be a major focus of Industry Reform Panel

FORMER New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma has spoken out on the future of the greyhound racing industry.

Iemma’s statements come as he prepares to lead the newly formed Greyhound Industry Reform Panel charged with making recommendations to the government on how to reform the industry following Mike Baird’s reversal of the controversial greyhound racing ban.

Iemma says in order to prosper, the greyhound racing industry must be prepared to change in order to align with community standards.

“The community very clearly wants the industry to have a go improving regulation and compliance, but if it’s shown that it still can’t change, than I don’t think they can rely on any form of public support anymore,” Iemma told The Australian.

The Greyhound Industry Reform Panel is made up of Iemma, Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) CEO Brenton Scott, as well as representatives from the RSPCA, the Department of the Premier and the Department of Primary Industry.

The panel will consider evidence from the Special Commission of Inquiry Report, as well as a variety of other resources prior to making its recommendations, including advice from an expert advisory committee which is yet to be established.

Iemma said breeding was set to be a major focus of the Panel, with restrictions needed to be put in place to properly regulate the amount of dogs born into the industry.

“One of the issues is the number of dogs, and that has to be reduced,” he said.

“How that happens and the regulations around it is one thing I need to get across. Another point is reducing the number of meetings so you require less greyhounds, but the implication that has for tracks and meetings still needs to be worked through.”

A cap of 2,000 pups born per annum had been suggested by the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance as a part of four guarantees made to the Premier on August 9.

Whilst these guarantees have been specifically mentioned in the terms of reference for the new panel, the industry has tried to distance itself from the figure, stating that the industry is no longer bound to that number.

“The Alliance have raised [the 2,000 breeding cap] specifically with the Premier and Deputy Premier,” GBOTA CEO Brenton Scott said.

“Since [August 9] the Alliance has taken its position to Greyhounds Australasia and has explained that the concept of a controlled breeding program needs to have a national focus.

“We need to understand what’s needed to cater for the entire national racing program at a given time and all of our planning needs to be between two and five years ahead.

“We obviously can’t breed more than we need to cater for that racing program, once we ensure the national level and the flow between states, then it will become an easier process to determine the breeding levels that should apply in each state.

“It’s not about approaching this issue from a breeding cap point of view, but approaching it from an appreciation that we shouldn’t be breeding excess to our racing needs and we shouldn’t be breeding excess to our capacity to re-home in a manner that is line with community expectations.”

Our say on the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel

The greyhound racing industry must brace itself for a turbulent time ahead, with major changes set to come from the newly-formed panel.

Many of these changes will be welcomed, such as enhanced animal welfare standards, however, there is also immense uncertainty in regards to what the future of the sport looks like.

Morris Iemma’s comments to The Australian indicate that the Panel will be aiming to decrease the amount of dogs born into the industry.

Although Brenton Scott has addressed the issue of the 2,000 breeding cap, it is concerning that the industry may be held to this precise figure on a technicality given the terms of reference for the panel specifically quote the guarantees made on August 9 by the Alliance, which this number was a part of.

It will be unfortunate if the industry is locked into this number, with more research essential to establish the correct amount of dogs required to achieve the correct balance of having enough greyhounds to fill the demands of racing, versus the amount of dogs which can be successfully re-homed.

Australian Racing Greyhound is also urging the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance to make public its letter sent to the NSW Premier on August 9.

This was another document specifically stated within the terms of reference for the new panel, and despite the Alliance stating the commitments made within the letter are identical to those published in the press release on the same day, we feel that in order to be fully transparent this letter should be made available to participants and the wider community.

Whilst it is to early to say whether the recommendations of the panel will improve the sport as a whole, Australian Racing Greyhound is hopeful that a series of positive changes relating to animal welfare, integrity, compliance and regulatory functions will be put in place to see the greyhound industry thrive.

Past Discussion

  1. Given that a greyhounds racing career spans 3 to 4 years, at 2,000 pups bred annually that means there are 6,000 to 8,000 dogs of racing age on the ground at any one time in NSW alone. 

    Seems enough to me.

  2. If the grading is changed to include older greyhounds  racing in their own age group and grading on times for the slower dogs more greyhounds will be competitive for longer and more left in the racing pool ,the grading needs a major reform as this is why so many dogs are retired early ,there are so many dogs missing out on runs at present ,not enough meetings ,the industry participants need to be able to contribute some input, when the taskforce came around to gather information  it was from the participants and he decided the industry needed to continue based on what the owners and trainers put forward ,do not lock into long term agreements ,the intercode agreement should be a lesson 

  3. lone widow I agree lone widow and if it is not we have grounds to up the number nothing is ever really set in stone and as Snooki said grade for all levels of dogs only a few top trainers want top dogs the rest of us do not want press we are not too proud to race  ordinary dogs even when they rarely win.

  4. Snooki  I could never believe not only that we were cheated out of our rightful share but that they agreed to it for 99 years I have never heard of a business contract set over that long a period. Maybe leases on large properties but to agree to a business arrangement over that length of time was madness.

  5. Deborah555 lone widow  Will breeding caps be set for horse racing because I think controlling breeding is a great idea every racing code should have animal welfare at it’s heart every greyhound and horse needs a forever home even for some of them it is in a can. These double standards need to go.

  6. lone widow  PS can you imagine the fuss if greyhounds were sent to the knackery canned up (PALed) I think it is  called in the horse racing game  and then sent to China where they eat dogs.  Poor people’s pets must be rehomed  pets that rich people race canned up. What freaking hypocrisy.

  7. lone widow Deborah555  I might suggest it to her in my next email. She is really quite sporting about me emailing her quite often. I wondered why until I saw some of the hate mail she gets truly disgusting what I send which is pretty strong when compared to some of the disgusting hate mail she gets I am a paragon of politeness.

  8. Deborah555 lone widow We should show our elected representatives a little more respect, Mehreen does have a constituency. I always believed respect was earned. I’m getting confused.

  9. Deborah555 lone widow I don’t think for one second that he tricked her, his actions were absolute, he had to back down, fortunately for him it just all fell into place. (this time)

  10. That’s right brace yourself, many are saying the onslaught  of regulation will kill the Industry  This stealth plan by the Government  which will be the death of Greyhound Racing here in NSW .this backflipp was to save their bacon in Orange  nothing else  Come New Year all over red rover ! That’s why we need to support  the SF&F and Labor ,Fred Nile in Orange,lets ask Jones and Hadley to ask Baird and Grant to make public Kenirys interim report ,which is obvious they are trying to hide, i have no doubt it was embarrassing for the government , re decision to shut down the industry .Don’t forget they are the ones who said we are unintelligent

  11. lone widow Deborah555 Snooki Randwick have a 99 year lease with an option for a further 99 year lease. The perpetual leases for racecourses were under a 1996 Act (I will check it out). Racecourse leases were issued by the Department of Gaming and Racing previously on a yearly basis. The 99 year contract with racing allows the racing to continue without the clubs having to go to the Department of Gaming and Racing each year to renew their licence. The Government can revoke a racecourse licence at any time as it always could, The licence for  club to race has always been subject to conditions. The nine nine year arrangements (called a perpetual licence ) is not the whole problem. What is the problem is the review of the various contracts. The review of the inter code (between the various codes) was a review not activated for 15 years to give the codes stability. The review was only activated if there was an increase (over inflation) of increases in turnover (income). The increase never came so there was nothing to kick off the review. If the review had happened ( excess income in real terms) then if the parties did  not agree on a new system the monies would held in a “locked Box” until they agreed. The comfort to the smaller codes was that the gallops) would have an incentive to settle as by far the largest share of the increase would be for them. The system was designed as  mediation where there had to be mutual agreement of all codes for the payments to be made. The alternate system would have been for a binding 

    arbitration for the payments of the increase. The greyhounds were in the position of receiving 13% no matter what and in my view should have given as little as reasonable to the TAB racing and go gangbusters on anything else. The NSW Government were of the opinion that the Victorian 12 year review of the Victorian Tab would have difficulties for the Government for various reasons and would bring Victoria back to the field. What happened in Victoria was the Government compensated the Racing Code to the tune approaching Billion to make up for the loss of the clubs in the shared Poker Machine receipts they lost. The Victorians have got compensation so to speak though a reduction in wagering commission tax. The NSW Government are matching the tax reduction so NSW is better off because it has a higher turnover. Point 1.

    Point 2. Because of the different arrangements in the market share between the codes the NSW Horses a further windfall over the Victorian Horses because of the difference between the percentage of the whole total taken out by the greyhounds in different proportions  NSW V Victoria.

    The 15 year stability period failed in NSW because the TAB arrangements were so complex that the Government had to write multiple acts to accommodating it with the costs running into probable tens of millions where as the Victorian Act remained stable.

    Considerable volunteer and unpaid work which was a feature in NSW was used in unintentional consequences caused by the lumpy acts instead of these incentives  allowing focus on more productive enterprises including infrastructure.

  12. BobWhitelaw  In it’s submission to the McHugh commission, GRNSW envisaged replacing the current tracks with 8-14 “centres of Excellence”  This would mean that between 20 and 26 clubs would be closed down and the 19 non-tab tracks would almost certainly be amongst them. 

    GRNSW also intended introducing new welfare initiatives in the areas of mandatory education, licencing and rehoming for which industry participants would bear the cost. It said that in order for the industry to meet its welfare targets, participants would also incur costs in improving kennelling facilities, increased vet services and socialisation of greyhounds. 

    All in all the outlook for participants was considered to be bleak. 

    “The needed reforms would add to the cost of owning, training and breeding while increases in prize money are at best uncertain”, and

    “the opportunity to increase prize money to meet these rising costs will be hobbled by the reforms that GRNSW must make to enable the industry to meet welfare standards that are even arguably acceptable to the community”

  13. BobWhitelaw Well Animals Australia are having a field day with your snippet on tv saying the industry will only last 3 years due to the new rules. Not sure the new rules are set in stone yet.

  14. John Tracey lone widow Deborah555 Snooki  thanks John so there was supposedly a way to review it before the 99 years was up I always wondered about that.

  15. BobWhitelaw I don’t think their  change of heart means that everyone is suddenly going to vote for the Nationals. A lot of the national party (paid up members)  want Grant gone and he is till there.  I agree it is their motive but I don’t think they are suddenly going to be forgiven.

  16. GeoffWilson BobWhitelaw  I agree Geoff we still need to stick together. All this we will fall over is just what the opponents want. The regulations are already overwhelming and we have managed so far and no I agree they are not set in stone.

  17. Deborah555 lone widow The activists are learning fast though. This is probably old news but i have just found out that animal rights activist Lynda Stoner, former fiancee of Senator Derryn Hinch ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the NSW Senate in the federal election 2016. Talk about stacking the deck, or is that called a gerrymander? (of sorts) I’m sure that’s legal?

    Yes it is a boys club but nothing like keeping it in the family.

  18. Deborah555 John Tracey lone widow Snooki In business you need certainty and this equates to stability. In a major change of legislation in the Government Departments it was necessary for a ten year stability climate to effect the reform. This meant that legislation was only subject to incremental changes during this period.

    The float reform in 1998 not only involved public service reform but other reforms as well so the period was stretched out to 15 years. The situation in Victoria was less complicated and a twelve year period was struck.

    Both the NSW project and the Victorian project originally had income potential from the poker machine activities.

    The poker machine interests in NSW convinced the Government that the 15 year review was unworkable so the potential of this at the 15 year review stage was negated but the NSW Government were convinced that the poker machine arrangement with racing in Victoria would not withstand the 12 year review. Whether the NSW Government were right or wrong the Victorians solved any problem by replacing the poker machine income to racing with an equal reduction in wagering tax.

    The above situation meant that the whole of the review i 15 years time which depended on an increase going forward of changing the codes percentages became totally dependant on an increase in the TAB revenues only and these were going backwards in real terms wnich meant there was  no trigger to change the distribution percentages.

    The problem with the 15 year review in my opinion was it did not give stability (certainty) to the greyhounds as the legislation kept and continued to change.

    The fact that there was no movement in the TAB code percentages meant in my view that greyhound racing had to come up with a model which suited the situation that they were in.

    The Radical solution they could have come up; would have been

    Run the 593 races necessary for the licence all at Wentworth Park. (Under twice per night per week) The contract allowed all classes of venues to transfer to’ the highest class of venue.

    Target promotion on tourists mainly.

    All other tracks feeder tracks in good time slots and promoting the racing at Wentworth Park ie competing with the poker machine club outlets for field legislation benefit.

    Run classic events on non tab tracks to get the higher rate of tax returns and also to allow field legislation profits.

    (run every club like Tweed Heads did udner Harry Pledger).

  19. John Tracey Deborah555 lone widow Snooki  Thanks John I thought 10 to 15 years was usually the go- 99 is a bit much for stability. As for the rest of the information it was great but it seems too intelligent and sensible to me I don’t like your chances but hopefully

  20. Deborah555 John Tracey lone widow Snooki There are two items involved in Stability.

    1. The situation with the inter code which is set not to change for another 83 years unless the parties all agree or if the Government changes the contract by legislation and pays compensation. This would have features like the Gonski Reforms of the Feds. ie there would be a need for the horses to be paid out at the current rates in compensation.

    2. The stability of the codes depends on the ability of the administrators to write an act and legislation which will stand the test of time. The team selected and the focus now should have been the approximate team chosen 17 years ago.

    The task was left to a service department without a greyhound focus, this is what caused the problem. 

    So this is potentially a big plus.

    Finally its everyones chance in greyhound racing, the Premier has apologised for everyone including those responsible for the legacy factor. The above is a massive concession I hope greyhound racing can take advantage of it.

  21. Deborah555 John Tracey lone widow Snooki

    1. The situation with the inter code which is set not to change for another 83 years unless the parties all agree or if the Government changes the contract by legislation and pays compensation. This would have features like the Gonski Reforms of the Feds. ie there would be a need for the horses to be paid out at the current rates in compensation.

    2. The stability of the codes depends on the ability of the administrators to write an act and legislation which will stand the test of time. The team selected and the focus now should have been the approximate team chosen 17 years ago.

    The task was left to a service department without a greyhound focus, this is what caused the problem. 

    So this is potentially a big plus.

    Finally its everyones chance in greyhound racing, the Premier has apologised for everyone including those responsible for the legacy factor. The above is a massive concession I hope greyhound racing can take advantage of it.

    ALSO note that the future fund has a 5 year review and is not hooked up to the inter code and intra code agreements and can be reviewed.

  22. BobWhitelaw Yes Bob, and by agreeing to overturn the ban Baird has taken away the publicity the greyhound Industry was getting through Hadley and Jones. That  they would hope helps with the election in Orange as less of a distraction for their proper gander, not that that will help greatly. We all know they are on the nose State wide. Looking at the article above all I can see for the future is less race tracks needed due to less participants and racing dogs in NSW.  That is not a win.

  23. John Tracey lone widow Deborah555 Snooki John, forgive me if i appear to be grabbing at straws as i often do but i only have a laymans brain when it comes to these issues.

    Because the NSW Coalition Government has legislated greyhound racing as illegal for the last 3 months ‘in both houses of parliament’ doesn’t that fact mean that the lessor (the government) has breached the conditions of the 99 year contract?

  24. lone widow John Tracey Deborah555 Snooki Sorry Loan widow I am not qualified to give you a legal opinion but I am happy to give you what I regard as a recital of facts.

    1. The legislation banning the greyhound racing has not yet received Royal Assent so it has not been acted upon, this being the case then no action has been taken with regard to the changing of the contracts.

    2. There are legal cases involving the Greyhounds and the Government before the Courts. These cases would need clearing up. This may lead to settlements  or further court actions and in the event of the cases being withdrawn or otherwise the Courts may order costs (legal costs of both sides in the various actions) as well against on side or the other, shared costs in a proportion decided by the court.

    3. My understanding is the 99 years contracts involve the inter code (percentage arrangements between the three codes of racing and the intra code arrangements (Between the various break ups within the greyhound racing ie Metro, Tab and non Tab.

    4. The Future Fund is not a part of the intra or inter-code percentage arrangements and money from this fund assessed as wage tax reductions share percentage is determined by the Minister and subject to a review each 5 years. Money to the greyhounds was suspended pending the result of the greyhound review so it is assumed that funds from this source will become available. (subject to application).

  25. Todman The alliance is agreeing with what you are saying, the loss will be felt in later years and a reduction in breeding can only work if it is adopted by all States otherwise it is just a nonsense.

  26. John Tracey Deborah555 Snooki PS.  For what it’s worth my lay mind tells me that the lease should be voided by the governments intent.

  27. lone widow John Tracey Deborah555 Snooki The Government have the remedy in my opinion, in its administration of the future fund by adjusting the review percentages each 5 years and introducing a first charge off the fund to the greyhounds as the fact that the greyhounds have been receiving less than market share means that in the past they have not had sufficient reserves and there is a backlog on welfare infrastructure  on racetracks to deal with animal welfare projects. To make matters worse this is made  more obvious that there is a lack of animal welfare infrastructure in the broad community involved with canines. For example, if all companion animals were to be buried commercially instead of in mass graves as mostly present the existing commercial grounds including animal crematoriums would need to handle over 1 million companion animals a year each. This situation would occur whether the animals died naturally, whether care was withdrawn or otherwise. The normalising of animals (giving them similar rights to humans) creates market opportunities as it does in humans.

    I would run with the social licence criteria myself as well as providing racing.