BARWON MP Kevin Humphries has spoken out in support of the New South Wales greyhound racing industry at a press conference held at the AgQuip Field Day in Gunnedah.
Humphries, whose electorate encompasses approximately 44 per cent of the state, slammed the Government for its decision to push for a ban on the sport.
“I didn’t join the National or Coalition Party to support the Greens policies or a minority group’s policy,” Humphries said.
“In 10 years as a local member and an ex-minister within Government I have got a pretty good idea of how the system works and this is not good process.
“We have been a good Government up until this point, but not on this issue – we don’t leave people behind.
“I don’t think [the ban] has been well thought out at all.
“If the current legislation progresses, basically all they are doing is pushing a problem, or a perceived problem, elsewhere – I don’t think that’s fair.”
Humphries said he has proposed a three-year moratorium to be considered in order to give the industry a chance to show it is capable of reform.
“There is opportunity to step up… I have put forward a three-year time space to work with the industry to make sure it gets back on track.
“The McHugh report was based on pre-2015 outcomes and a lot of what he has said has been withdrawn – he basically has said that the report was never set up to shut down the industry – it was something to be used on the basis of reform.
“Whilst there needed to be some fundamental change within the industry… the breeders, owners and trainers were well on the way to achieving those outcomes.
“To say that the industry has not made significant gains in the last 12 months is clearly not true.”
Humphries said the ban would have an unjust and far reaching effect on many communities within the state, particularly in regional areas.
“If you look back at what the industry has done, many of those people can be very very proud of what they have achieved.
“I think they have been unfairly treated, the decision making process has been in haste, I don’t think that proper due diligence has been done on the industry to access not just the economic impacts of 15,000 people directly, but the social impacts of what a loss or a ban of this industry means for the broader community, particularly in our country and regional communities.”
Humphries said some of the key assumptions used to back the ban are flawed and stated he has fears for the future of the National Party if the legislation is passed through the Parliament.
“I don’t accept that the viability of the industry is in trouble – this industry is profitable and contributes to the community in so many ways.
“It’s poisonous, particularly for National Party members, when our constituents have spoken against [the ban].
“The reality is we have opened up a Pandora’s box on this issue, it needs to be put back in the box, the legislation needs to be taken off the table and more consultation needs to take place.”
Humphries said he will cross the floor if required to show his support for the good people within greyhound racing.
“I won’t be supporting the legislation to ban the industry, my colleagues know that…the leadership within the Coalition know that and if I have to cross the floor if that legislation is tabled, not only will I cross the floor but I will speak in support of the greyhound industry and why I am not supporting the ban.
“The precedent for this is significant and I think members of parliament from all walks of life realise that.
“I know a number of my colleagues have been quite public about their support for the greyhound industry and they don’t support that ban – I would expect that support to continue.”