Page 4922 - Week 13 - Thursday, 2 November 2017

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The decision of this government will, in time, be judged as to whether it was right or wrong. I genuinely believe it is right … The decision is based on the need to stop animal cruelty and to assist society to change its attitude to animal welfare.

This community will not accept the risk that these documented and acknowledged failures in New South Wales could come here, and our examination of greyhound racing in the ACT showed conclusively that if we allowed the industry to continue we would be taking that risk. An independent consultant, Ms Mary Durkin, was engaged to provide an analysis of options to support the transition away from racing here in the ACT. Ms Durkin consulted with the greyhound racing industry as well as the animal welfare sector and provided me with her report on 15 May 2017.

The Durkin report found that the ACT greyhound racing industry is small and intimately linked with the broader regional network of greyhound racing activities. The Durkin report showed us that in 2016 approximately 71 dogs that raced were based in the ACT, while 1,107 were from New South Wales. That means that 94 per cent of the dogs that raced here were from New South Wales.

Clearly, it is impossible to divorce the ACT greyhound racing industry from the industry across the border; they are inextricably linked. Here in the ACT we can have no certainty that dogs being brought in from other jurisdictions to race have not come from breeders and trainers engaging in practices that are abhorrent from an animal welfare perspective. That risk is more than just theoretical. The winning trainer of the most recent Canberra greyhound racing cup, and winner of three previous Canberra cups, has been disqualified from racing by Greyhound Racing NSW three times since 2005 over the discovery of prohibited substances in her greyhounds, including cocaine. She is also one of 178 trainers who have been charged by Greyhound Racing NSW with the unauthorised export of dogs to Macau, where healthy Australian dogs are kept in appalling conditions and used for barbaric entertainment. Her husband was disqualified for a year for presenting a dog affected by amphetamines in December 2015. As I noted in the Assembly this week, these are drugs that are of interest to not just animal welfare regulators.

The cessation of greyhound racing in the territory will ensure that greyhounds from other jurisdictions whose animal welfare arrangements are outside of the control of the ACT will not be brought here to race. For those greyhounds that are based in the ACT and will continue to race elsewhere, this package of amendment bills provides for specialist regulation and control that will enable an appropriate level of protection. The Minister for Transport and City Services will shortly introduce that aspect of these amendments.

This amendment bill removes from the Racing Act the legal framework for the administration and control of greyhound racing in the ACT. The Canberra Greyhound Racing Club Incorporated is currently the controlling body for greyhound racing in the ACT, under section 27 of the Racing Act. Under the amendment bill there will no longer be provision for a controlling body for greyhound racing in the ACT, nor will it be possible for an entity to become an approved racing organisation for race

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