MP welcomes greyhound reforms
UPDATE Thursday 1.15pm: CLARENCE MP Chris Gulaptis has welcomed recommendations to reform the greyhound industry.
Mr Gulaptis said the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel report will pave the way for a new regulatory regime to ensure the industry meets community expectations.
"The panel's report is based on input from a wide range of stakeholders as well as the findings of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the industry."
The panel has recommended a new best practice governance structure that separates commercial and regulatory functions by establishing a Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission with broad investigative powers.
It also supports an enforceable code of practice for greyhound welfare, whole-of-life registration and tracking of dogs so their whereabouts are known, licensing and accreditation requirements for all industry participants, and restrictions on the keeping of small animals on properties where greyhounds are kept.
Mr Gulaptis said the community now has a chance to consider the report's findings before the Government prepares a package of legislation to implement the new regime and repeal the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Act.
"The greyhound racing industry is an important part of framing who we are in regional NSW.
"We love our dogs, we love a punt, we are battlers and we deserve a go. That's why I am very pleased the new reform Report will give the industry a second chance.
"The report has provided 122 recommendations and I'm sure industry participants can meet those recommendations to restore public trust in the industry," Mr Gulaptis said.
The Panel's report and recommendations can be found at http://www.racing.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/greyhound-racing-nsw.aspx.
UPDATE Thursday 11.59am: STRICTER controls over euthanasia, restrictions on keeping small animals on properties, broader investigative powers and improved safety at tracks are just some of the key recommendations made by the NSW Greyhound Industry Reform Panel.
Minister for Racing Paul Toole said these measures, plus an independent Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission will ensure the future of the sport.
"I am releasing the report ahead of the Government's response so everyone has the opportunity to read it and have their say," Mr Toole said.
"The community has made it clear the greyhound industry should have another chance.
"As Minister for Racing, I am absolutely committed to the future of the greyhound industry and this report will inform the Government on how that will happen.
"There should be no doubt whatsoever: the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Act will be repealed well before its scheduled start date."
The reform panel headed by former Premier Morris Iemma has made 122 recommendations, based on input from a wide range of stakeholders, including:
. Restrictions on keeping small animals on properties with greyhounds;
. An independent regulator with broad investigative powers;
. An enforceable code of practice for greyhound welfare;
. Whole-of-life registration and tracking of greyhounds;
. An accreditation scheme for industry participants;
. Increased penalties for animal welfare offences;
. Strict controls on euthanasia, and;
. Improved safety at tracks.
Mr Toole said the panel's report has provided a solid basis to ensure animal welfare standards for greyhound racing meet community expectations.
"I thank Mr Iemma and the panel for their work. It's particularly pleasing that the Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance and the RSPCA have been able to work together to find a way forward," Mr Toole said.
Following extensive consultation that has occurred, the Government wants to proceed with forming its official response to the panel's report without delay.
The panel recommended a statutory review of the new legislation take place after three years.
The report can be found at http://www.racing.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/greyhound-racing-nsw.aspx