THE names of the five person panel assigned with reforming the NSW greyhound racing industry have been released.
Known as the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel, it will be led by former Morris Iemma, the former Labor Premier of NSW between 2005 and 2008. Since quitting as Premier, Iemma has been heavily involved in junior cricket and in May this year he was appointed as one of six district commissioners on the Greater Sydney Commission.
Iemma will be joined by Simon Draper, who will fill the role as Deputy Chair. Draper is currently Deputy Secretary, Economic Policy Group, for the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Prior to this position, he was a tribunal member at the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal. His other occupations have been as a managing director of Lumo Energy, the CEO of Wellington Airport in New Zealand, the general manager commercial at Integral Energy and the CEO of Northern Territory Airports.
The third member of the panel is Steve Coleman, the CEO of the RSPCA. Coleman joined the RSPCA NSW as an inspector in 1991 and currently sits on numerous government and industry committees and advisory councils such as the Animal Welfare Advisory Council, which directly reports to the Minister for Primary Industries. Coleman confirmed his position on the panel last Friday, adding he was disappointed the government had decided to reverse its ban on greyhound racing.
Coleman had previously spoken out in favour of the ban, speaking at the government’s press conference when it was originally announced on July 7.
“This day will go down … as one of the biggest improvements in animal welfare in this state,” Coleman said.
“We can only hope that other jurisdictions look upon this decision very, very seriously.
“It’s monumental, and I can only hope that this reverberates around the country.”
The fourth member of the Panel is Christine Middlemiss, the NSW Chief Veterinary Officer for the Department of Primary Industries. Middlemiss comes from a farming family in the south of Scotland and was appointed to her current position in August 2016. Middlemiss has a background in sheep genetics in private practice in the United Kingdom as well as in animal health in the public sector.
The greyhound industry will be represented by Brenton Scott, the CEO of the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA).
The starting point for the panel’s work will be to consider a variety of reports as well as industry feedback, including the recommendations of the Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry.
Also specifically mentioned within the terms of reference for the panel are the industry reform guarantees put forward by the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance on August 9 in both a letter to the Premier and a media release. At this stage, the letter is yet to be released for the industry and public to read, however, Australian Racing Greyhound has called for this to happen.
The panel will be responsible for determining a new regime to ensure greyhound racing within the state prioritises animal welfare, has a robust governance structure and a tough, independent regulator to oversee the industry.
Following the panel’s report, the government has said the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill will be repealed and will be replaced with new legislation to implement these tough new standards. Part of the panel’s work will also be to determine criteria for a statutory review, which will take place after the commencement of the new legislation.