NSW Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission (GWIC) Chief Commissioner Alan Brown AM announced on Friday that GWIC Chief Executive Officer Ms Judy Lind will depart the Commission on 20th October 2020. The announcement comes just weeks after the NSW Government formed a select committee to inquire in to the integrity body.
Ms Lind’s resignation quickly follows this week’s announcement that the NSW GWIC Chief Steward Brett Day was leaving the integrity and regulatory body “for personal reasons”; and the earlier September announcement that a GWIC staffer was the subject of an internal investigation over “inappropriate emails”.
Just last month the NSW Government established a Select Committee to inquire in to GWIC and the NSW commercial body Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW). That select committee is chaired by Shooters, Fishers & Farmers Party (SFF) head Robert Borsak, and has named The Greens Party’s Abigail Boyd as Deputy Chair. The Animal Justice Party (AJP) will be represented on the eight person committee by anti-greyhound racing advocate Mark Pearson.
With the background of the shadows of the select committee inquiry looming large over GWIC and GRNSW, the exit doors at GWIC have well and truly sprung open.
According to GWIC Chief Commissioner Alan Brown, “Ms Lind, who joined the Commission as its inaugural CEO in February 2018, has been instrumental in establishing the Commission as a trusted, fair, firm and impartial regulator.”
“Ms Lind assembled and led a team which in less than three years delivered the industry reforms set out by the Government following the release of the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel report in 2017, together with other significant initiatives”, Mr Brown said.”
Brown lists Lind’s achievements at GWIC during her tenure as:
- Implementing transparent reporting, via the production of public-facing reports on a regular basis, on key elements of greyhound racing industry performance
- Implementing proactive and ongoing industry engagement processes, including the Greyhound Knowledge Industry Network, regular dialogue with GBOTA and an inaugural Breeders Forum to breeding trends in the industry
- Delivering the best customer service environment that NSW greyhound industry participants have experienced
- Championing the vital role that private rehoming organisations play in the rehoming of greyhounds exiting the industry
- Assisting participants avoid inadvertent positive swabs in relation to threshold substances (particularly cobalt and arsenic) by proactively alerting participants when a swab of their greyhounds is near threshold levels
- Ensuring racing continued in NSW during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms Lind, who will leave her position at the Commission’s head office in Bathurst and return to her home in Canberra, said “I wish to acknowledge my team at the Commission, especially those involved in the formative stages of the Commission who have been such an integral part of my team for the duration of the journey.”
“I would also like to acknowledge those within the industry who have supported my work at the Commission, including those who have reached out to offer their encouragement, knowledge, expertise and guidance” said Lind.
Brown has named Mr Steve Griffin as interim Chief Executive Officer until recruitment to find a replacement for Ms Lind is carried out, but declined to list his qualifications for the role.
The NSW select committee is receiving submissions until 4th December 2020, after which point formal hearings will commence. With the mass exodus of GWIC identities it remains to be seen if former key personnel such as Lind and Day and will be re-called to give evidence before the inquiry.
NSW One Nation Party representative and greyhound racing supporter Mark Latham has been critical of the composition and intent of the select committee saying “You’ve got all these people on the committee who want to ban greyhound racing investigating the organisation who’s supposed to be in control of the welfare and it’s a basketcase”.
In July of this year the NSW Racing Minister Kevin Anderson was forced to concede that the relationship between GWIC and GRNSW had become virtually untenable saying that it was “an unhappy marriage”.
NSW greyhound racing participants would be rightly concerned as to the outcome of the inquiry, as it was several inquiries in to greyhound racing in NSW that set the wheels in motion for the short lived NSW greyhound ban. The extremely broad terms of reference granted to a committee with known anti-greyhound racing advocates sitting on it would do nothing to dispel that fear.
NSW Select Committee Inquiry In To GWIC & GRNSW Terms Of Reference
- That a select committee be established to inquire into and report on the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission (the Commission) as the independent regulator of the greyhound industry in New South Wales, and in particular:
- (a) the policies, procedures, mechanisms, and overarching principles of the Commission in relation to industry participants,
- (b) the appropriateness of disciplinary action for those industry participants breaching legal requirements as set out by the Commission,
- (c) the options for appeal by industry participants who breach legal requirements as set out by the Commission,
- (d) the combined relationship of the Commission, the industry operator Greyhound Racing NSW, and industry participants in relation to the overall greyhound racing industry,
- (e) the existing funding agreement between the Commission and Greyhound Racing NSW with a view to considering recommended options,
- (f) the actions, conduct and effectiveness of the Commission and GRNSW, in particular in relation to its role in improving the welfare of greyhounds, and
- (g) any other related matter.