The ALP spokesperson for Clarence Courtney Houssos, NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley and Clarence River Jockey Club chairman Graeme Green catch up near the betting ring at the Grafton Races on Thursday.
The ALP spokesperson for Clarence Courtney Houssos, NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley and Clarence River Jockey Club chairman Graeme Green catch up near the betting ring at the Grafton Races on Thursday. Tim Howard

Foley’s visit to the dogs proves a winner

GREYHOUND owners and trainers reeling from the imminent demise of their industry have responded positively to a little love coming their way says NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley.

Mr Foley spent several hours talking to people in the industry at Wednesday's Grafton Greyhound Club meeting.

"The response was very good," he said. "I think they're very appreciative that someone's standing up for them in the parliament.

"They don't know why and I don't know why the good men in the sport of greyhound racing are being demonised."

NSW opposition leader Luke Foley is surrounded by trainers and punters alike as he talked to them about his opposition to the proposed ban of greyhound racing in NSW.
NSW opposition leader Luke Foley is surrounded by trainers and punters alike as he talked to them about his opposition to the proposed ban of greyhound racing in NSW. Adam Hourigan

Mr Foley said the stories he heard from people involved in all areas of the sport were heartbreaking.

"I spoke to a young couple who'd given up their jobs," he said.

"He was in mining, she was in the finance sector. They both had good jobs.

"They gave it up to go full time with their passion in life - greyhounds.

"They have young children and now they face financial ruin."

Mr Foley said the NSW Government's decision to ban greyhound racing from July 1 next year will affect people other than owners and trainers.

"Many other people, the bloke who invested $40,000 in camera equipment, the bloke who runs his own business providing dog food, who invested in research and the best information from overseas about nutritional benefits to greyhounds, improving their recovery times and the muscle and skeletal system," he said.

"It's all these jobs that aren't thought of that are at risk, or more than at risk."

Mr Foley said he hopes National Party MPs, like the Member for Clarence Chris Gulaptis, will break ranks and seek to overturn the Liberal leader Mike Baird's proposed legislation.

"I'm begging the National Party MPs to break ranks just this once and rescue this industry," Mr Foley said.

"I was hoping to see Chris Gulaptis today but I'm told he's not here.

"But I will certainly be putting a plan forward to implement the 79 McHugh recommendations that would keep the industry going to higher standards of animal welfare."

He said greyhound racing would have to undergo radical changes to be able to afford to make the changes that would save it.

Mr Foley acknowledged the report found NSW Greyhound Racing could not afford to make these changes without support.

He said the dogs would need to get a better deal from the TAB than than the industry currently enjoyed.

"A far greater percentage of punters' money is waged on the greyhounds than is returned to that sport," he said.

"In other words there is a subsidy going to the other codes.

"If you want to invest in high standards of animal welfare you have to look at that."

Mr Foley said the industry would also need to restructure with fewer races and tracks involved.'

"There would be less racing because modern society rightly demands wastage is reduced as much as is possible," he said.

"A restructured industry would involve few races, but there would still be an industry providing employment to thousands of our citizens.

"And enjoyment to many tens of thousands."



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