Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) has today acknowledged the release of the report from the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel, which makes wide-ranging recommendations on potential new animal welfare and governance arrangements to reform the industry.
The aim of these recommendations is to put the protection of animal welfare at the centre of the new industry arrangements and to impose the strictest measures in the country to address animal cruelty. This is crucial to the future of the greyhound racing industry in NSW and to build the community’s confidence in its integrity.
The panel makes a range of recommendations which will reset expectations about how greyhounds are cared for throughout their entire life. This will include the introduction of a new and enforceable code of practice for animal welfare, whole of life cycle tracking of all greyhounds, strict licensing and education requirements for all industry participants, and stronger penalties for serious offences.
A key recommendation of the report is to separate the commercial and regulatory functions that are currently carried out by GRNSW.
If the recommendation is accepted by the NSW Government, this would result in the establishment of a new Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission, which will be an independent statutory body responsible for animal welfare, oversee the integrity of the greyhound racing industry and monitor and enforce compliance. The commission would also be responsible for developing and enforcing the new code of practice as well as administering the new licensing scheme.
It would also result in the reconstitution of GRNSW as a statutory state owned corporation responsible for developing greyhound racing in NSW as a competitive and sustainable industry. The reconstituted GRNSW would be governed by a board of at least five, but no more than seven directors, with more than 50 per cent required to be “independent directors” that have no association with the industry.
GRNSW would be responsible for developing track safety standards, setting the race program and have the ability to operate greyhound racing venues or to authorise greyhound racing clubs to do so.
Crucially, the panel’s report recommends changes to the funding arrangements currently in place for the NSW greyhound racing industry to support the additional welfare, integrity and operational costs that will be required. This includes amending the Inter-Code Deed and revisiting the distribution of tax harmonisation revenues between the three codes of racing in NSW.
GRNSW supports all of the recommendations made in the panel’s report, including the key recommendation to separate the regulatory and commercial functions as well as tackling the funding arrangements for the industry.
In addition, GRNSW supports the role that the new Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission will play in protecting the welfare of greyhounds, as well as safeguarding the integrity of greyhound racing and wagering on the industry.
Over the past two years GRNSW has introduced robust and wide-ranging reforms to redress past failures and to tackle abhorrent practices head-on, while making significant improvements to animal welfare, industry education and to the supervision of the industry.
GRNSW notes that many of the panel’s recommendations relate to these reforms. The organisation is therefore confident that the recommendations will ensure NSW greyhound racing can become a more sustainable and vibrant industry that adheres to the strongest regulation and supervision measures in the country and puts the welfare of greyhounds at the centre of everything it does.
GRNSW is under no illusions that the road to reform for the NSW greyhound racing industry is only just beginning, but is certain that the many thousands of responsible participants who are actively involved in the industry are committed to this reform and cultural change that will ensure greyhound racing has a bright future in NSW.
The Greyhound Industry Reform Panel report can be viewed at the following link: http://www.racing.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/final-panel-report-february-2017.pdf
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