A NSW GBOTA delegation (Chairman Geoff Rose, Directors Richard Bligh, Dennis Carl, George Hayes and Executive Officer Brenton Scott) met with interim GRNSW CEO Paul Newson yesterday. 

The consensus of both parties was that the meeting was open, fruitful and informative.

Many current issues were discussed, with particular regard to the animal welfare and animal cruelty issues arising as a result of revelations on a recent Four Corners programme.

The NSW GBOTA delegation made the point that the industry was crying out for clear, precise information as arising determinations were being made.

Mr. Newson acknowledged the concerns expressed, and consequently indicated that more information would be presented in the media and that information sessions would also be held throughout the State.

“The information sessions will concentrate on issues connected to the McHugh Review but will also be an opportunity for participants to air any concerns they have and to provide wider feedback,” said Mr. Newson.

The McHugh Review is being headed by Justice Michael McHugh AC, QC. The investigating committee also includes representatives of the RSPCA (Chief Executive Steve Coleman), NSW Police (Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Jenkins) and the Greyhound Racing Industry Consultative Group (Chairman Ron Arnold).  

Mr. Newson explained that the McHugh Review would have a profound bearing on the future of the NSW greyhound industry.

The terms of reference have been widened and Justice McHugh will have the investigative powers of a Royal Commission. The review is a report for the Government and Mr. Newson confirmed that it was being Government funded.

Mr. Newson emphasised the significance of the review, confirming that its threshold question would be to determine whether greyhound racing should continue in NSW.  Mr. Newson was of the personal view that there was only a remote possibility of greyhound racing not continuing but it was important that this would be determined by an assessment of social and economic benefits of the industry versus the possible harm associated with any findings from the review.

Mr. Newson made it clear that if greyhound racing was to continue, the review would put in place clear requirements as to the shape and form of the industry going forward and would further ensure the introduction of best practice animal welfare and integrity issues.

The McHugh Review was expected to be completed within six to nine months. Public comment to a discussion paper will be invited.

The pressing matter of suspended greyhounds was another discussion 
issue with GBOTA delegates making the point that innocent parties connected to suspended greyhounds were seeking clarity as to the process that would apply to having the suspensions lifted.

Mr. Newson responded by advising that GRNSW was taking expert advice and was doing this as quickly as possible. More information would flow as soon as possible.

NSW GBOTA delegates also reinforced their views regarding racetrack trialling procedures that should apply going forward. They, being as follows:

(1) That the NSW GBOTA supports racetracks being able to continue using dead bait in the form of rabbits for the purpose of finish on trials. That conditions similar to those previously in place at Wentworth Park where the rabbits are supplied by a reputable approved provider, frozen and gutted, be put in place at all NSW racetracks. Those conditions are that the rabbits be handled only by racetrack officials, thawed before use, and retained by racetrack staff and disposed of via an appropriate commercial disposal firm.

(2) That the NSW GBOTA supports the simultaneous development of simulated chasing systems (from whelping box to racetrack) with a view to nationally consistent standards being developed.

(3) That there be a review of finish on lure systems for trialling and possibly racing.

(4) That the NSW GBOTA supports GRNSW installing CCTV surveillance at all NSW racetracks, inclusive of back to base monitoring.

In response, Mr. Newson advised that trialling procedures and lure use will be a point of consideration under the review. In the meantime, it was the position of GRNSW that carcasses should not be used for run on trials. 

Further inquiries can be made with:

Brenton Scott, Executive Officer, NSW GBOTA
Ph: 02 8587 1206 or email: brenton@gbota.com.au 

Media Release Delegates.pdf