New challenge could give racing a lifeline

MEETING: Greyhound Transition Taskforce Coordinator General Dr John Keniry came to discuss the industry at Dapto on Tuesday. Picture: Robert Peet

MEETING: Greyhound Transition Taskforce Coordinator General Dr John Keniry came to discuss the industry at Dapto on Tuesday. Picture: Robert Peet

A constitutional challenge has given Illawarra and South Coast greyhound owners renewed hope of reversing the NSW Government’s decision to ban the sport.

On the same day the Greyhounds Transition Taskforce came to Dapto to discuss a ‘transition package’ with industry participants, the NSW Greyhound racing industry alliance lodged a constitutional challenge in the Federal Court on Tuesday morning.

The challenge argues the ban breaches section 92 of the constitution which guarantees the right to trade across state borders.

Brenton Scott from the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) said the ban strips greyhound breeders of their constitutional right.

The Federal Court challenge will run alongside a NSW Supreme Court case which is challenging the report that prompted the government's decision to ban the industry from July 1 2017.

The news was met with optimism by those in the region’s greyhound racing community –many of whom gathered at Dapto on Thursday for a Greyhounds Transition Taskforce meeting.

The meeting hoped to help determine ‘the information needed to develop a transition package that addresses the needs of affected people and animals.’

Greyhound trainer Joe Bertinato didn’t think the meeting was fruitful. 

“The wasn’t much really that I didn’t know. He didn’t give us much information,” he said.

“He couldn’t give us a price on how much we would get reimbursed if anything.

“He couldn’t give us a price on how much the dogs were worth. But it looks like they are good to let us breed and train dogs in NSW but they want us to race in Victoria or Queensland.

“It’s a 10 hour trip each way which would make it hard.

“Some of the big trainers will be able to do it but the little hobby trainers like us, it is going to be very hard to do.”

Participants raised concerns about the re-homing of greyhounds should the industry stop and compensation packages. 

Greyhounds Transition Taskforce Coordinator General Dr John Keniry AM said there was ‘really good engagement’ at the meeting.

“They were all interested in what we had to say and they contributed back really well,” he said.

“Obviously they are disappointed with the decision and not happy about that but they were quite happy to engage with what ideas there were on whether we should extend breeding or training. 

“And what sort of arrangement would be put in place for the dogs that won’t be able to race.”

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