Labor member for Swansea, Yasmin Catley, has thrown her support behind the greyhound racing industry as the sport faces a permanent ban at the hands of the Baird government.
Premier Baird announced on Thursday he intends to put legislation before the next meeting of parliament which would see greyhound racing outlawed in NSW as of July 1, 2017.
Catley condemned the government for making such a hasty decision without proper consultation and consideration.
“It’s apparent that the greyhound industry needs to be cleaned up in NSW, but I think that the industry is working very hard to achieve that,” Catley told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“I think what the Government has done by just abolishing the entire industry without any warning whatsoever will just have devastating effects on the thousands and thousands of people involved in it.
“The overwhelming majority of people in the industry are hardworking people who rely on the industry for their livelihoods.”
Catley, like most others, was shocked to see the announcement last Thursday, but says she is adamant to stand up for the innocent participants in greyhound racing who are being stripped of the sport they love.
“It was a shock announcement for everybody. I have had greyhound trainers come into my office almost in tears,” she said.
“I know people personally in the greyhound industry and they are good people…I know the regard they have for their dogs.
“While I don’t have a racetrack in my electorate, I have plenty of greyhound trainers and there are also plenty of people who support the greyhound industry.
“I will stand up for my community, there is absolutely no doubt about that, in support of good, local, regional jobs.
“The Labor party has always stood up for working class people and I think this decision absolutely demonstrates that.”
Catley believes the Baird government has decided to take the easy way out rather than being dedicated to fixing the industry long term.
“As I understand the industry had come together…and they gave a commitment that they would move in the direction of cleaning it up,” she said.
“They had been doing that of course and then the report was (released) late last week and (no one in the industry) had the chance to read the report before they heard the news that the industry was going to be pulled out from under their feet.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful that a Premier would do that without any consultation, I feel very sorry for [the greyhound industry] and I will stand with them to say that there should be justice and fairness in this.
“On this occasion the government has taken the lazy option and just said: ‘too hard, lets wipe our hands of it, and close the industry down’ instead of going through the rigorous process of cleaning it up and ensuring that we have safe and secure jobs into the future for the greyhound industry in NSW.”
Catley says she will continue to fight the ban for the good people of greyhound racing right through to the next meeting of the assembly, set down for August 2, at which point it is expected Baird will attempt to pass his controversial legislation.
“If you are elected to parliament then you must represent people and their interests,” she said.
“While there are always different views and agendas, this is a whole industry. It isn’t anything trivial we are discussing here – this is people’s livelihoods.
“Mike Baird made a decision last week to literally take people’s livelihoods from them – we are talking thousands of people.
“This is a political decision at the end of the day and I think Mike Baird has got it wrong…the labor party won’t be voting for any of this nonsense, that’s for sure.”