The NSW Government has today announced significant changes to greyhound racing that will hold the industry to the highest possible standards of animal welfare.
Racing Minister Paul Toole said the NSW Government will adopt the vast majority of the 122 recommendations of the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel.
The NSW Government will implement the recommended new industry structure, with separate commercial and regulatory functions, by establishing an independent Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission.
In terms of funding for the NSW greyhound racing industry, the NSW Government will not be intervening to amend the Inter-Code deed or revisiting the distribution of tax harmonisation revenues.
The other primary recommendation not being accepted by the NSW Government is the recommended change to the legal structure of GRNSW, with the organisation to remain as a body corporate, and essentially at arm’s length from government.
Legislation to repeal the greyhound ban and implement the reforms will be introduced today, according to Mr Toole.
“These reforms are focused on stronger penalties and lifetime bans for those who do the wrong thing, while developing a sustainable and ethical industry,” Mr Toole said.
The Panel’s other key recommendations to be implemented include:
• An enforceable code of practice for greyhound welfare;
• CCTV cameras at all public and certain private tracks;
• Whole-of-life registration and tracking of greyhounds;
• Tougher penalties for animal welfare abuses, including for live baiting;
• An accreditation scheme for industry participants; and
• Strict controls on euthanasia.
In lieu of amending the Inter-Code deed or the distribution of tax harmonisation revenues, the NSW Government will invest $41 million over the next five years to implement the recommendations. Of this, $11 million will go towards the establishment of the integrity commission.
As part of the $41 million package, the safety of greyhound tracks will be improved with $30 million to improve animal welfare standards that lower the risk of injury. A statutory review of the new legislation will take place after three years.
While Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) accepts the NSW Government’s position on the recommendations and appreciates the additional funding that is to be provided to improving animal welfare and the integrity of the NSW greyhound industry, GRNSW believes the NSW Government should strongly consider intervening by legislating to amend the Inter-Code deed as well as revisiting the distribution of the tax harmonisation revenues.
Since the commencement of the Inter-Code Deed, NSW greyhound racing’s contribution to the NSW racing market has reached as much as 22.3%, a far greater share of the market than the 13% allocation that it receives under the Inter-Code Deed.
GRNSW will continue to support the industry and make representations for the panel’s recommendations around funding reform to be adopted in full in the coming years in order for the NSW greyhound industry to meet its welfare, integrity and operational demands and place the sport on a sustainable path that would deliver substantial benefits to participants and communities across NSW.
More information on today's announcement from the NSW Government can be found here.
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