Participants growing concerned over industry’s future viability

Nsw greyhound racing

PROMINENT breeder, owner and race caller Anthony Jeffress says he holds grave fears for the future of the NSW greyhound racing industry after recent figures were released which estimate the true costs of reforms within the state.

The figures were approximated by Australian Racing Greyhound and concluded that the industry could be losing up to $24 million per annum due to the costs of new reforms largely relating to animal welfare and integrity.

ARG estimated the figures after the NSW government decided against overturning the Intercode and Tax Harmonisation agreements when legislation was recently introduced to repeal the controversial greyhound racing ban.

Instead, the government will be giving the industry $41 million over five years to contribute towards the various improvements which need to be made – a figure which falls short of the amount required according to many within the industry, such as Jeffress.

Jeffress is based in Queensland but currently has 20 greyhounds within NSW, approximately half of his interest within the sport nationwide, and says the figures look disturbing for the industry’s future.

“The figures are speculative, which I understand, but even if they are close to correct it is grave cause for concern,” Jeffress told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if these figures are close to the mark and what concerns me the most is that there has either been little to no costings done or at the very least they haven’t been published for participants and the public to see.

“The fact that the funding arrangements are only of a five-year period, yet the reforms are obviously going to be for a period well beyond that time – that has the potential to leave massive black holes from 2023 forwards.

“I don’t believe that the funding is adequate for the next five years, let alone for the sixth year forward.

“As a person who has a vested interest in the industry within the border of NSW I can’t believe people aren’t demanding more answers and more importantly getting answers in regards to what the arrangements are going to be beyond 2023 rather than adopting a ‘just trust everyone’ attitude.”

Jeffress says the dire outlook for NSW greyhound racing could force people out of the industry or interstate as other states continue to flourish.

“It is going to shake things up within the breeding and training ranks in particular – I can’t see anyone relocating to NSW but I can see a net loss to NSW,” he said.

“There are already dozens of long term participants who have already hung up the collar and lead or have indicated once their current batch of dogs are finished they will do so.

“I can’t think of any other industry that can look at itself and pat itself on the back when they are suffering massive losses of skilled participants.

“As an owner and breeder it is already difficult to place a dog in NSW – that is going to become more of an issue into the future.

“The whole thing has me questioning whether, as an owner, I should move my interests outside of NSW.

“There is no doubt that QLD – after a rocky start post-live baiting scandal – is starting to get its act together.

“Other states seem to be continuing to travel forward, yet it seems NSW is in reverse gear and for a state which has prided itself on producing the best dogs over the years it is certainly very concerning.

“The NSW industry lacks leadership, direction and there are going to be black holes financially if not immediately then in the near future.”

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Jeffress fears the industry will never grow in the state unless people are elected who are passionate about rectifying the sport’s position and reputation.

“Most of our representatives have found their way at the top and lack the general concern for the wellbeing of the industry,” he said.

“I believe many have acted with other agendas at play and they have scored very poorly when it comes to consultation and communication.

“In the immediate future we need to ensure whoever is at the head of the industry – be it as a part of the GBOTA, on a board or within the formal structure of the industry – they need to be the right people.

“[They must be] passionate greyhound people who understand how the industry works, the financial arrangements and most certainly people who are willing to fight in order to right the past wrongs of the TAB distribution and tax harmonisation agreements.

“My belief has always been to give credit when it is due, but don’t be afraid to speak up when people make mistakes.

“My fear is that the people who are currently in charge have proven that they are not up to the task through their actions and inactions. It is time for new representatives to take us forward.

“The Alliance should be given credit for its role in overturning the ban, but that doesn’t mean we should turn a blind eye to other things they have been complicit to.

“We shouldn’t continue to pay homage to them for what they have done in the past when there are other more pressing issues moving forward.

“These people have put themselves in these positions and want you to pat them on the back – but how about they take some of the justifiable criticism and respond to it with actions rather than burying their heads in the sand.”

Jeffress said the first step for the industry is to stop apologising for its past wrongdoings and move forward with its head held high.

“We have been far too apologetic for far too long,” he said.

“We have been apologising for the mistakes and sins of others rather than looking at what we ourselves have done.

“We have got to stop apologising and start defending the good people of the industry who are going to be paying for the behaviour of a very small percentage of people who did the wrong thing.”

He also said the industry must cut ties with animal welfare groups with an outspoken view on greyhound racing, as concern grows with the increasing trend of greyhound bodies looking to consult with these groups.

“It’s one thing to be looking to keep your enemies close; but it certainly doesn’t require you to get into bed with any person or organisation who have openly stated that they want to see the industry closed down,” Jeffress said.

“There are a number of unfortunate recent examples where certain people in positions of responsibility are wanting to align themselves with some of these groups, which includes some of the most unconscionable, terrorist-like mobs, who really only want to collect 95% of their funds for their own salaries or spreading malicious untruths.”

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  1. Spot on Anthony, I nominate David Brasch for a position in NSW a long time and respected member of the greyhound family but probably too smart to get involved.

  2. Anthony you only know half the Truth about this Government and their agenda
    for ultimate closure of greyhound racing here nsw.GRNSW leaked funding costs requirements for survival for the next 5 years is around 230 million! so with whats on offer of 41 million means the end is just around the corner. As MLC Robert Borask stated the industry for the 3 years needs at least 150 million to address all issues across the industry.and he once was a charted accountant so he should know what he’s talking about .Some 2 years ago Borsak SFF, Fred Nile, Labor, GAG and two Directors of the GBOTA the Government agreed to the changes to the TAX PARITY where each code would receive their market share ! For the Greyhounds it mean’t 20% and that was a promise from then the Chief of Staff of the Minister for Racing Troy Grant as the Government was not prepared to touch the ICA. Then came the LIVE BAITING saga which killed our 20% share and was given 10% which went straight into a government welfare fund, that was the beginning of the end. NARKS have continued to bag those who put their hands up to chase a better deal for all in the Industry. Anthony the real architects in our demise was the LIVE BAITERS once that was aired our 20% went out the Door, so lets put it in the right perspective the whole industry needs the right people in the right places to take the industry forward and wont happen with 41 million on offer ! The old guard who has failed us miserably for many a year cannot be allowed to continue and i know some of the Alliance are continuing .to lobby the government for positions in the new structure.and that is a fear.

  3. I nominate Warren Wilson former head of Tab, Sky Racing and turned around the Fortunes of the Panthers Group when CEO there who where millions down the drain and he is prepared to put his hand up at GRNSW and rebuild our shattered code.

  4. Bob,
    It’s one thing for someone to put their hand up but they still have to get a foot in the door… ARG organise a petition to get things rolling.

  5. I know you mean well, but Petitions mean nothing to politicians after years of knocking their doors re our industry for a FAIR GO,you learn a lot about how they operate.The thing is they’ll put who they like in the position to run GRNSW What we need to do, is to push the best candidates with the right credentials to take our industry forward into the future not some Bureaucrat who knows SFA about the industry,such in the case with Newson. Bunro in 1998 a group of us had a campaign where the theme was SAVE THE GREYHOUND INDUSTRY, GIVE US THE RIGHT TO VOTE ! ( iv’e still got a bumper sticker) it fell on deaf ears, hence what we still have today. In my opinion the march on Macquarie St and the Orange By-Election win for SFFP was our best weapon of attack and we won the first round of the fight and we should continue down that road once more with Rallies closer to the next election. Labor C Dem,SFFP are on board and at the next election these parties will be looking for our support which i believe its been a first for the Industry and we have now some political clout " maintain the RAGE" until they get it right. GAG went to Borsak about a Rally back in August 2016 and the Alliance was not keen on the Idea and wanted to play it out in the Courts, it was Borsak who convinced them the Rally was the best way forward, so what does that tell us about their strategies, Please can someone tell us all, how’s the Court Cases going ?

  6. It should surprise no one that to treat greyhounds with respect and actually take care of them like the industry always said it did, but seldom did, will take money. Lots of money. It should also surprise no one that, in an industry that treats innocent living creatures as commodities to be used and discarded on purely economic grounds this will be a problem.

    Greyhound racing barely generates enough to keep itself afloat, even with all the help it gets now. The 41 million from the government is not going to solve the long term problem. It’s time to face the fact that an industry based on exploitation and cruelty has outlived its day and should be sent to the trash heap of history.

    I am a Board member of GREY2K USA Worldwide.

  7. Fred 99% of Greyhound owners treat their dogs with the utmost respect and most put their dogs welfare before their own welfare. Your statement that Greyhound racing barely generates enough to keep itself afloat, is more mis information from your organisation that its putting out there in the wider community. The facts are the Greyhounds generate 22.3% of gambling turnover but only receive 13.4% of income so in real terms we subsidies the Gallops and the Trots to the tune of 135 million a year and the government wont address that issue, and you might ask WHY? Because it might upset the very powerful thoroughbreds who have political persuasion at all levels with both major parties here in NSW , this money would go a long way to addressing the problems your organisation is claiming . The facts are, most owners either re-home their dogs or keep them, or retire them to a greyhound retirement villages, like which are located all over NSW and the participants pay for their retirement with the Government and GRNSW are contributing nothing to their welfare in their racing and retirement life cycle and using the gambling Tax to build hospitals,roads, railway upgrades,and the lists goes on. Your organisation should be working with the 99% of participants who do the right thing by their Greyhounds and rid the 1% of people doing the wrong thing, out of Greyhounds. Like you i foster greyhounds and re-home and look for nothing in return, you might ask why its because i love them and most people love all their dogs no matter what bred they are and your organisation is targeting one breed of dog when multiple breeds of dogs are exploited every day around the world even to the point that humans are STILL killing and eating dogs maybe your group should focus on elimination of that practice . Fred Barton you have a nice day ! I must go out and attend to my 48 retirees who must be exercised and feed which i love to do every day for 365 days of the year and i hope you are doing the same. Fred do you feed your greyhounds meat if so ,how do you source it ? my dogs eat what i eat and 90% of their meals i serve are vegetables and grain eggs and milk canola oil and multi vitamins and 10% of cooked meat. Cheers,…

  8. I have asked you on a few occasions Fred exactly how many retired greyhounds you actually have with you and you have never answered. My guess is probably about two. I can guarantee you have not saved more than Bob Whitelaw has in his lifetime and a lot of other trainers including myself who keep our greyhounds after they have finished racing. Your argument " I could never imagine abandoning them when they are old, sick or injured: does not make you an authority on greyhound welfare. I think you are just a keyboard activist who appears to occupy himself on the donations of people who give to your organisation to troll greyhound sites. Exactly how many dogs have you personally rehomed or looked after ?

  9. Deb it is agenda Grey2k have re the racing greyhound ! There is no other breeds of dogs they could give two HOOTS about, and how they are treated. I ask how many dogs have they saved that have been heading for slaughter in countries where people eat them .I’ll say no more as i feel sick in the guts thinking about.

  10. Fred,
    The only positive thing GREY2K have done in NSW is you have been instrumental in bringing down a dictator and his henchman.
    For that we thank you.
    …your work is done go home.