In a move which will be seen as a huge setback for the long awaited Tamworth Regional Racing Precinct development which was to have seen all three racing codes race at the one venue; GRNSW has this morning pulled out of an opportunity to help fund the development.
Whilst providing “in-principal support” for the venture, Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) have declined to contribute $1.2 million toward the development citing a report showing the development will be under funded by a further $1.2 million and also re-iterating the unfair funding arrangements currently in place in New South Wales racing.
“The board of GRNSW affirmed its support of the concept providing that the construction could be completed on a cost neutral basis to the NSW greyhound industry,” GRNSW Chairman Professor Percy Allan AM said.
“The board stated clearly that it would reconsider financing the greyhounds portion of the project should industry funding arrangements change.
“A commitment by the New South Wales Government to implement the clear and decisive reform agenda recommended to it by the independent Alan Cameron report that it commissioned would undoubtedly alter the considerations surrounding this project.
“The current fixed percentage structure of revenue sharing that governs the NSW racing and wagering industry does not support nor allow GRNSW to invest in improving infrastructure, introducing TAB racing and creating additional employment opportunities in regional areas such as Tamworth.
While Allen used the opportunity for political grand standing regarding the Cameron Report, GRNSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan was a little more direct regarding the Tamworth development, “the Tamworth project would allow us to be a part of an exciting project for the town and the wider New England community,” Mr Hogan said.
“At the present time with such a high capital expenditure required for this project and the impact this would have on our current state-wide industry development funding priorities we just couldn’t commit to such a substantial investment”.
There is no doubt GRNSW have seized upon the opportunity to stand back from the Tamworth development regardless of the Cameron Report and its implementation or lack of it. The timing of the recent decision allows them to continue pressure on the government to increase the greyhound industries share of TAB distribution from its current low point.
Additionally though it also gives them an arms length distance over one more NCA aligned regional track that will in all likelihood close should the Tamworth Regional Racing Precinct development go ahead without the addition of greyhound racing.
In a state with over forty greyhound tracks, there is no doubt GRNSW will be content to see that number shrink organically without them having to forcibly rationalise regional greyhound racing.