As you are aware, last year the NSW GBOTA prepared and lodged a detailed submission in relation to the Statutory Review of the Greyhound Racing Act 2017. A copy of that submission can be found here. 

Recently Minister for Better Regulation, Mr Kevin Anderson MP, tabled a report in both houses of NSW Parliament in relation to the review. The full report is 35 pages,and can be found here. 

Below is the Executive Summary plus the 16 recommendations.

The Association draws your attention to two components of the full report which highlight the importance of the NSW GBOTA providing professional, detailed and solution-based submissions whenever necessary or required.

Executive Summary

The Greyhound Racing Act 2017 (the Act) and the Greyhound Racing Regulation 2019 (the Regulation) provide the regulatory framework for greyhound racing in NSW. The Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation (the Minister) administers the Act, which was passed by the NSW Parliament and received assent in April 2017.

The Act sets the foundation for a sustainable greyhound racing industry, with high animal welfare and integrity standards. Section 102 of the Act requires that the legislation be reviewed as soon as possible three years after the date of assent to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether its terms remain appropriate for securing those objectives. 

A report on the outcome of the review must be tabled in Parliament by 9 April 2021. 

The review was undertaken by the Department of Customer Service (the Department) on behalf of the Minister. 

As part of the statutory review of the Act, public consultation was held between July and September 2020, with more than 1,000 responses received through written submissions and online surveys. The Department also hosted online information sessions for greyhound racing clubs, industry participants and the public. All submissions were considered as part of the statutory review. 

Overall, the review found that the policy intent of the Act remains valid and the legislation is appropriate for delivering against the Act’s aims. However, the review recommends some amendments to the Act to address issues raised through the consultation and analysis of the legislation. The report makes 16 recommendations to improve the greyhound racing regulatory framework racing. Implementation of these recommendations will provide greater clarity around the policy objectives of the Act and the functions and activities of the controlling bodies, as well as ensuring the sustainability and ongoing viability of the industry.

At the bottom of page 13 of the report it reads;

Recommendations

Recommendation 1:

The Act be amended to include specific objectives relating to the control, regulation and financial sustainability of the industry. These objectives should align with the principal objectives of the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (the Commission) and Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) under the Act. 

Recommendation 2:

The Government undertake further work to determine whether the Commission’s governance and operating structure remains relevant and appropriate. 

Recommendation 3:

The Government review and consider available options to ensure the Commission is sustainably funded, as well as appropriate oversight mechanisms to ensure the Commission performs its functions efficiently.

Recommendation 4:

The Government review existing reporting mechanisms relating to the Commission’s financial and operational performance and consider any necessary amendments.

Recommendation 5:

The Government undertake further work to determine whether GRNSW’s governance and operating structure remains relevant and appropriate to manage compliance with its obligations.

Recommendation 6: 

The Government consider amendments to GRNSW’s functions under section 24 of the Act to provide greater clarity with regards to GRNSW’s authority in relation to greyhound racing clubs. 

In developing amendments, the Government should ensure GRNSW and racing clubs are consulted to determine the appropriate criteria for the exercise of functions in relation to greyhound racing clubs, including consideration of the scope and limitations of the powers and whether appeal provisions are necessary.

Recommendation 7:

The Act should be amended to require mid-term reviews of the Operating Licence to determine if compliance is advancing appropriately.

Recommendation 8:

The Act should be amended to require the Operating Licence to be made publicly available, as well as any mid-term review reports.

Recommendation 9:

The Operating Licence terms be amended to make it clear that ongoing compliance, as opposed to one-off compliance, is required for all licence terms. Timeframes for when compliance is to be met should be included, where appropriate.

Recommendation 10:

GRNSW be required to ensure it continues to give priority to those Operating Licence conditions that directly relate to welfare matters by setting timeframes as part of the licence conditions.

Recommendation 11:

GRNSW be required to give due consideration to the Commission’s feedback on welfare matters provided as part of any consultation required by the licence.

Recommendation 12:

The Operating Licence terms should be amended to allow clarifying conditions to be introduced where it is considered that a licence term is broad or is to be implemented over a period of time.

Recommendation 13:

The Operating Licence be amended to bring greater focus to key non-welfare and integrity priority areas.

Recommendation 14:

The Operating Licence be amended to require GRNSW to report rehoming data from Greyhounds As Pets, as well as other programs supported by GRNSW.

Recommendation 15:

The Commission implement its enhanced registration scheme and training and accreditation of registered participants as a priority.

Recommendation 16

The Department and Commission consider whether additional categories of decision should be available for internal review, as appropriate.

From page 13 of the report

Summary of submissions

Submissions outlined many views on how the industry should be funded, including that the Government should:

  • fund the Commission via wagering taxes;
  • fund private rehoming organisations, greyhound sanctuaries and animal welfare organisation investigations;
  • ensure GRNSW receives a proportionate share of wagering revenue under the revenue sharing arrangement between the three racing codes and the NSW TAB

In contrast, submissions also stated:

  • the Government should not fund the Commission as the industry should be sustainable and self-sufficient, as outlined in the Panel recommendations;
  • the Commission should generate more of its own revenue, highlighting that participant registration fees have been waived since 2017;
  • it is unethical for wagering revenue to fund the Commission.

Most survey responses indicated support for greater oversight of the Commission in relation to its governance and financial performance.

The Commission submitted that the current funding model is flawed as it requires negotiation with GRNSW, is contrary to the intent of the Panel recommendations and causes unnecessary tension between both bodies. The Commission would prefer to be funded from the greyhound racing industry’s share of PoC tax proceeds as well as increasing its direct contribution from the PoC tax. 

GRNSW submitted there should be no requirement to fund the Commission unless the revenue sharing arrangement between the racing codes and NSW TAB (the Inter-Code Deed) is amended to provide further revenue to the greyhound racing industry. The NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners & Trainers Association (NSW GBOTA) supported this position, suggesting the Commission should be funded from PoC tax revenue, noting this would be consistent with the funding model for the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (which receives government funding). NSW GBOTA submitted that if Commission funding was in addition to GRNSW’s share of PoC tax revenue it would rectify some of the inequities in the Inter-Code Deed.

From page 16 of the report:

Findings in relation to the principal objectives and functions of GRNSW

GRNSW and the Commission did not identify any deficiencies with their functions or responsibilities. The concerns raised by GBOTA and DAHS regarding the lack of legislative clarity for GRNSW’s functions in relation to racing clubs are acknowledged. This uncertainty heightens the risk of legal disputes between GRNSW and racing clubs about the lawful execution of legislative functions. Increased litigation between GRNSW and racing clubs would be financially costly for the industry, clubs and have the potential to undermine GRNSW’s ability to manage racing clubs. 

Other jurisdictions that provide authority for controlling bodies to appoint an administrator to a club set out more detail in relation to the exercise of this authority. For example, the Racing Act 1958 (Vic) authorises Greyhound Racing Victoria to suspend members of a racing club and appoint a fit and proper person to be club administrator, with an administrator authorised to exercise all the powers of the club. 

The review supports amendments to GRNSW’s functions under section 24 of the Act to provide greater clarity with regards to GRNSW’s authority in relation to greyhound racing clubs. Further consideration is necessary to determine the appropriate criteria for GRNSW’s exercise of these functions, in consultation with GRNSW and greyhound racing clubs.

Thank you to everyone who played a role in our submission and very special thanks to Kristy Harper.