No pay-out for NSW greyhound trainers stripped of jobs
TRAINERS who lose their livelihoods to a statewide ban on greyhound racing will not be eligible for compensation from the New South Wales Government.
Legislation introduced to the NSW upper house on Wednesday contained a get-out-free clause for the government, declaring damages would not be payable for any financial losses the ban caused.
The industry employs about 2700 full-time workers across the state and pulls in $335 million in annual revenue.
Upper house leader Duncan Gay outlined some of the bill's contents, including penalties of up to a year in jail and an $11,000 fine for conducting a greyhound race after the proposed July 2017 cut-off date.
But he admitted several details were yet to be decided upon, including the dates for an end to greyhound breeding and interstate racing for NSW trainers.
"Allowing a staggered wind-up for the industry will provide the best possible chance for greyhounds to continue on as pets with their owners following the cessation of racing, or to be re-homed or appropriately transferred interstate to race there," he said.
The bill states Greyhound Racing NSW interim chief executive officer Paul Newson would be removed immediately, with a new administrator installed to develop a business plan for the industry's closure.
Racing Minister Troy Grant would have the power to approve and modify the plan.
Placing bets on greyhound races in other states or jurisdictions would still be legal, but all NSW greyhound racecourse licences would be terminated.
Mr Gay said GRNSW's registrations for clubs, trainers, bookmakers and breeders were due to expire on June 30, 2017 - a day before the ban comes into play.
Keeping greyhounds for racing interstate will be outlawed, although a grace period will be put in place for currently registered racing dogs.
The government may also authorise a temporary "trial track" to be kept open so existing greyhounds can still be trained during the interstate racing transition period.
Greyhound breeding will be illegal except for companion animals, punishable by up to six months jail and an $11,000 fine.
Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile called for a parliamentary inquiry into the reliability of the McHugh Report that prompted the ban, but was told his Question Time call was out of order.
NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers' Association CEO Brenton Scott said the industry would continue to fight for its right to survive.
"Our case is also now before the courts and our argument shows that the McHugh Report is not credible and that this report formed the basis of the Premier's decision, so it is important that this issue is not raced through Parliament without due consideration," he said.
"We were shocked to hear Troy Grant state yesterday that the GBOTA has previously not supported a proposed (breeding) quota.
"This is absolutely incorrect and there is evidence in a submission to the Joint Working Group Draft Report Implementing Reform in the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry from earlier this year that makes it clear that GBOTA did in fact support a quota system." -ARM NEWSDESK