Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2016 Week 01 Hansard (Wednesday, 14 December 2016) . . Page.. 139 ..
In view of the commission’s findings about the governance afforded by Greyhound Racing New South Wales, including the poor prospects for reform of the industry, and the significant participation in ACT greyhound racing of New South Wales based dogs, owners and trainers, the ACT government does not consider that ACT greyhound racing can be divorced from the New South Wales industry, or that the ACT industry’s claimed animal welfare record justifies the continuation of the ACT industry.
The government also has concerns about the suggestion that the ACT industry should be expanded to compensate for the clear scaling back in New South Wales. This would inevitably result in more animals from New South Wales being raced in the ACT. Nor do we believe it is appropriate that the ACT should be required to fund the oversight of the industry as an alternative to oversight by Greyhound Racing New South Wales.
I understand that the ending of greyhound racing in the ACT will have a personal impact on those involved in the industry. I do not intend to play divisive politics with people’s lives. I appreciate that those in the industry have experienced a long period of uncertainty as to their future, and even now the details of the new New South Wales arrangements are not fully known. I understand that this would have been particularly frustrating and distressing.
The ACT government has now clearly set out its intentions in the parliamentary agreement. I wish to work closely with the industry on the implementation of those intentions and on how the government can best support that transition process.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (12.09): I thank Mr Parton for his motion today, and I thank Minister Ramsay for his amendment today. This is an important discussion that the ACT should have.
The ACT greyhound industry is small, exploitative and expensive. The issues concerning greyhound racing came to prominent national attention in February 2015 when the ABC program Four Corners exposed the widespread animal cruelty in the Australian greyhound racing industry. To a large extent this conversation here today is still part of that wash-up from the live baiting scandal exposed by Four Corners. Of course, the other thing, from an ACT point of view, is the justification, if any, for subsidising this industry. The two issues are both driving the conversation in the ACT.
After Four Corners, Australia-wide the industry went on the defensive as various governments commissioned inquiries. The New South Wales government convened a broad-ranging special commission which ultimately produced the McHugh report. Members will be well aware that the ACT greyhound industry is regulated by Greyhound Racing New South Wales. Members will also be aware that the vast majority of greyhounds raced in the Canberra greyhound racing industry are bred and trained outside ACT borders.