Morris Iemma announced as chairman of reconstituted GRNSW board

Industry Update

MORRIS Iemma has been announced as the chairman of the reconstituted Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) board which will run the commercial functions of the sport in the state.

A previous Labor Premier, Iemma recently chaired the NSW Greyhound Industry Reform Panel which was created by former Premier Mike Baird when he announced a backflip on last year’s contentious greyhound racing ban.

The panel was comprised of Iemma, NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association CEO Brenton Scott, the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Simon Draper, CEO of the NSW RSPCA Steve Coleman and NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss.

The panel made 122 recommendations to the government on how to reform the NSW greyhound racing industry, with all but one adopted including the separation of the commercial and regulatory functions of the authority body, the establishment of an independent integrity commission and tougher penalties for animal welfare breaches such as life bans for participants engaging in live baiting.

Upon welcoming the majority of the recommendations in March, the NSW Government also revealed that it would not be interfering to change the Intercode or Tax Parity agreements and that it would instead be giving the industry $41 million in funding over five years.

The level of funding was slammed by many government critics at the time, including Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MLC Robert Borsak who said that the funding was inadequate and that the government was merely trying to ‘ban the government by stealth’.

The new board will be comprised of five members, including the chairman, with NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole welcoming the appointment of Iemma on Friday morning.

“Mr Iemma brings a wealth of experience and skills to the role, having led the reform panel whose recommendations formed the basis of new laws to take the industry forward,” Toole said.

“He shows a strong commitment to engage with all stakeholders involved in the industry.”

The remainder of the board is comprised of:

  • Yvonne Howie (Deputy Chair): Howie is an experienced corporate leader and is the Director, Government and Corporate at the CEO Institute. Additionally she is the director of the Combined Dispensaries Friendly Society and is a former director of both the Greater Western Sydney Economic Development Board and the GP Northside Network.
  • Michael Eberand: Eberand is a greyhound trainer and runs a financial services firm. He is also the vice-president of the Australian Federation of Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Associations.
  • Matthew Waring: lawyer who also runs an employment law and industrial relations consultancy practice. He has a history in the industry as a former chairman, treasurer and director of the Richmond Greyhound Racing Club.
  • Hugh Armenis: Partner at Bentleys, a business advisory and accounting firm. He is also a former executive director of Ernst and Young and is a registered liquidator and the current director of the board of Cure the Future, a charity with funds research into genetic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and alzheimers.

ARG – our thoughts

A positive of this announcement is that it finally appears that the ball is rolling and the reform process is kicking up a notch. It has been an uncertain few months with not much happening – at least not much being communicated to participants – so it is a relief to finally see an announcement and for the next chapter of NSW greyhound racing to be officially beginning.