The head of the state’s new greyhound racing regulator has urged the industry not to look back, telling trainers and breeders they must embrace the new rules and tougher penalties which will be rolled out from July.
“They shouldn’t look back, they shouldn’t consider that there is an opportunity to go back to the ways in which were acceptable before,” chief commissioner of the new Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission Alan Brown said.
“They should embrace the commission and what it is trying to do for the industry, because by the commission being successful… the industry will be able to get back to its reputational best.”
Mr Brown and a panel from the commission will visit Dapto race track on Tuesday night, speaking to trainers, breeders and anyone else within the local greyhound racing scene about the new body.
The commission will take over from Greyhound Racing NSW from July, introducing a slew of new rules and a code of conduct based on 121 recommendations from the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel.
This was set up to investigate how to overhaul the industry when then NSW premier Mike Baird reversed his ban on greyhound racing, which came in the wake of the live-baiting scandal in 2015.
The panel at Dapto will be held at 5.30-7.30pm, with Mr Brown joined by three other members of the commission to outline the regulator’s role, discuss reforms and address any concerns.
Last week, the commission visited five other tracks in NSW, where Mr Brown said they had the chance to allay fears from those attending that the new body would lead to over-regulation.
“They are very concerned to ensure there is not over-regulation, and that the costs don’t drive them out of the industry,” he said.
“We have been able to allay those fears because that’s not the purpose of the commission at all.”
The commission will begin operation on July 1, with most changes to be phased in over time with consultation within the industry.
“We will be taking over the registration of all greyhounds…, managing and appointing all the stewards, vets, inspectors and investigators,” Mr Brown said.
“We will also introduce a new Code of Practice.”
He said some of the features of the code included early socialisation strategies for owners and breeders to encourage the greyhounds to be about to be rehomed at the end of its racing career, as well as the need for a retirement plan for each dog.
“There will also be minimum kenneling size requirements and standards of keeping, breeding and housing greyhounds,” he said.
“We will also implement a whole of life registration and tracking of all greyhounds and a new accreditation scheme for the participants.”
“And there will be tougher penalties for animal welfare abuses and live baiting.”
Greyhound Racing NSW will continue to run commercial operations, monitor club governance and track safety as well as looking after greyhound rehoming.