The State Government has committed $41 million to reforming the New South Wales’ greyhound racing industry over the next five years.
Racing Minister Paul Toole announced yesterday the government would adopt of all but one of the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel’s recommendations.
Thirty million dollars has been committed to implement the reforms, which include strict regulations for animal welfare, more accountable governance structures and a self-sustaining future for greyhound racing.
“$11 million will be allocated to the integrity commission and this will be phased out by the fifth year when the industry will need to stand on its own and be sustainable,” Mr Toole told the ABC.
Illawarra greyhound industry representatives have supported the reforms, but they claim changes to the inter-code agreement – the one recommendation not adopted – are necessary for the industry to remain economically beneficial in the region.
Bulli Greyhound Club operations manager Darren Hull said the agreement, which divides TAB revenue between greyhound, thoroughbred and harness racing, does not reflect the industry’s true value.
“Greyhound racing is currently turning over 23 per cent but only getting 13 per cent back,” he said.
“We’re not actually getting our market share.”
He said the economic contributions of the industry in the Illawarra were understated, and pointed to the Illawarra Folk Festival and Foragers Markets being run at the Bulli greyhound track as an example of the industry’s local impact.
“The greyhound club runs the show ground. We do all the maintenance, all the mowing, all the cleaning, all the site preparation,” he said.
While prominent animal welfare issues, like live baiting, are a addressed in the recommendations, Mr Hull said safety on the racing track should not be be forgotten.
“I do believe that track safety is going to be a fairly big part of this new structure,” he said.
“Bulli has a very good safety record – it’s actually known as one of the safest tracks in NSW. So, that will stand Bulli in good stead.”