The NSW Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson, whose portfolio includes racing, has conceded that the current NSW structure with integrity controlled by NSW Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) and commercial activities controlled by Greyhound Racing New South Wales (GRNSW) has become problematic.
Speaking on the Ray Hadley Morning Show, Mr Anderson spoke about the perceived “bad blood” between GRNSW and GWIC and admitted the two organisations are not on the same page.
A significant factor in the souring of the relationship, is the fact GRNSW must fund the GWIC while having no control over the extent of the GWIC spend. This was an integral component of the NSW greyhound racing reform arising from the NSW greyhound ban; the objective being the commercial body could not interfere with integrity.
GWIC has implemented many of the recommendations they were charged to implement as a result of the reforms, but have fallen short in several key areas including education, accreditation and licensing. Despite not all recommendation being implemented, GWIC is spending $16 Million a year with those expenses only likely to increase.
The NSW Government has been contributing $4 Million a year toward those costs, leaving GRNSW to contribute $12 Million to GWIC. That government supplement ends this year and GRNSW will then be liable for the whole cost of GWIC.
Mr Anderson said that as a part of the greyhound racing reforms, there is a requirement for a compulsory statutory review of the greyhound industry to assess the effectiveness of the reforms, the wider viability of continuing greyhound racing in NSW, and long term sustainability. The review may also look at new funding models for greyhound racing. Anderson said “we will look at new funding models and viable or sustainable options. We need to look at that $16 Million going out the door to GWIC; that’s a problem”.
The three year statutory review was compulsory under the reform package to get NSW greyhound racing back from the NSW ban. Anderson encouraged all participants to contribute to the review by making submissions to “Tell them what you think”. Mr Anderson implored all greyhound participants to make their submissions to the statutory review and have their voice heard, saying “I’m trying to push it (the review) as hard as I can. If you’ve got some beef, now’s the time to tell us.”
Ray Hadley challenged Anderson that GWIC had a strong presence of anti greyhound racing animal activists that only wanted to ensure that the NSW greyhound racing return from the ban would fail, and that a general lack of experience among GWIC staff and contractors was an issue. Anderson conceded that some racing background knowledge would be more desirable in GWIC. As a part of the GWIC conditions, the commission was originally staffed with personnel who had absolutely no exposure, experience or connections with greyhound racing.
Anderson has admitted a new campaign to ban all forms of racing has just started again and that “The animal activists (are present) across all levels of government to get their fingers in pies”. There are people across all levels of government who have these agendas” said Mr Anderson. Hadley quipped “I’ll give you a tip Kevin, unless you get the animal activists out of GWIC, you’ll be looking for a job as well. You’ll go down the same path as Mike Baird”.
Mr Anderson said that he needed GRNSW and GWIC to “break bread” and get their relationship back on track. Mr Anderson said that GWIC has invited GRNSW to Bathurst to have a good look at what can be done, if anything to mend the relationship.