KEVIN Gordon has reiterated his support for the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance and vowed to continue the fight to have a proposed July 1, 2017, shutdown date thrown out.
Despite chatter that Gordon may be working with the National Party to increase the proposed period the ban is enacted over, the Alliance member from the Hunter Valley said there was only one way forward.
“The story has grown legs that I have been doing things – who do people think I am? I wish I was powerful enough to go to the Nationals and do a deal with them,” he said.
“The Alliance hasn’t stopped working for the last 12 weeks. We have put in writing to the Premier that we require a total reversal of the ban, back to how it was on July 6.
“We are hopeful that there will be a breakthrough next week, all the signs are there.”
The Liberal Government, backed by the National Party, hacw copped extreme heat since their decision to shut down the greyhound industry in NSW. Premier Mike Baird and National Party leader Troy Grant, his deputy Premier, have both had their positions in the cabinet questioned and commentators believe the pair are likely to do a backflip on the topic.
“There has been multiple scenarios thrown around such as three or five year extensions – but what we hope and what we are looking for is a complete reversal of the ban – that is what’s acceptable to the Alliance and that’s what should be acceptable to the industry,” Gordon said.
“People seem to think we are going to be offered something by the government – there will be no offers.
“Lets be very clear of where we are currently at – greyhound racing finishes on the first of July next year – that’s where it’s at right now.
“So there will be no offers from the government to say ‘hey guys, would you like this’ – it will be a decision which is made between the National Party MPs.
“We have made our stance very clear to the government and that is that we need a complete reversal.”
Gordon also clarified comments made at an industry meeting on Saturday in Newcastle, which led some people to believe the Alliance is no longer encouraging participants to lobby against the National Party in relation to the ban and ahead of the Orange by-election on November 12.
“It is my personal position that if we get a complete turnaround and it is acceptable that I, myself, don’t see any advantage in me, Kevin Gordon, going out [to Orange] and bagging the Nationals,” Gordon said.
“That’s just my personal opinion, not an Alliance position – what everybody else does is entirely up to them.”
Brenton Scott, NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) CEO and head of the Alliance confirmed the body’s hope that the ban would be completely overturned this week.
“The Alliance’s position has been committed to one simple message from day one and that is that we have been treated unfairly, we have been treated unreasonably and we have been on the end of a knee-jerk decision which had no regards for the impact on decent, hardworking people,” Scott said.
“The objective we continue to strive for is a reversal of the ban… we seek to have a collective arrangement between the industry and the government that allows the industry to perform to agreed benchmarks and that there be an accountability framework and that simultaneously to those two actions we collectively and genuinely assess the worth of the 79 unconsidered McHugh recommendations.
“We are not in a position where we are putting anything more than the expectation that the ban be reversed.
“The McHugh report, flawed as its facts may be, put to the industry that there are a number of issues that we can accept need to be dealt with… but the reaction of the government was articulated in the premier’s decision on July 7 and we believe that decision was way out of proportion with the issues that needed to be dealt with.”
Scott said the Alliance is hopeful that a optimistic solution for the industry will come out of the party room meeting.
“It is positive that the meeting takes place against a background of shifting public sentiment and widespread media coverage that suggests there are alternative ways to deal with our problem.
“I expect that should lead to a healthy and hopefully productive discussion.”
Scott also lamented that the Alliance continues to urge all greyhound racing participants in the Orange electorate to carefully consider who to vote for in the upcoming by-election.
“We have taken the position that the Orange by-election should, from a greyhound racing perspective, should be about getting behind those who are prepared to advocate in protest of the ban as it stands at the current time.
“We understand that there are a range of political agendas at play, so therefore the individual choice [of who to vote for] should remain a private matter, but we would encourage everybody from within the greyhound industry to consider supporting those who are prepared to support the greyhound industry.”
Meanwhile, Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Robert Borsak remains unconvinced that a positive change for the greyhound industry will occur as a result of the Nationals party room meeting, taking to social media over the weekend to express his opinion.
“Nothing of substance will come this coming week in the way of real reversal and improvement of the terms of the greyhound industry ban.
“A few crumbs maybe be thrown down, small concessions may be offered, whatever is put on the table (if anything) will only be teased at in order that the Orange by-election damage may be mitigated.
“You see, they still think they are right, nothing has been learnt since July, it’s still all about them and not country constituents, jobs or families and more importantly dogs.
“They just don’t get it.”