Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 14 Hansard (Tuesday, 28 November 2017) . . Page.. 5161 ..
I personally wrote to the chair of the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club on 23 June 2017 and explicitly told him in writing that the ban would take place before 30 June 2018 and that the CGRC would be advised of specific dates as part of the transition process. On 23 June, on the same day I announced the ban, I issued a media release and social media information emphasising that the ban would take place before 30 June.
To step back now and pretend that the government has somehow committed to 30 June itself as an end date is disingenuous. It is the same sort of denialist, lobby-driven behaviour that has plagued the Canberra Liberals’ position on greyhound racing.
30 April 2018 is a date that gives people in the industry time to assess any unforeseen impacts between the end of racing and the end of the financial year. It will encourage those who continue to be misled by the CGRC into believing that this policy is somehow magically going to end to seek help from the task force, and it will maintain certainty for everyone involved. I oppose the amendment.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (5.16): The Greens will not be supporting Mr Parton’s amendment. I appreciate his flagging it with us earlier in the week, and we did give it consideration but, on balance, we formed the view that it is best to allow the industry to make the most use of the transition fund and that being clear with the industry about the end date was the most important consideration for us, because we have been very clear that this legislation was going to be supported. It is important that we continue to be clear with the industry that there is not going to be a change of policy; and, as the attorney has just touched on, I think that is what Mr Parton is trying to sell, to some extent, to the industry as well as the industry leaders.
The decision to bring the legislation into effect in April next year means that for those people who choose to continue racing greyhounds up until that date, there will still be an opportunity for them to reassess after that point and make an application for transition funding once the new arrangements have come into effect. If the implementation date were moved back to July, there is, I think, a fair likelihood that people would miss out on that opportunity to access transition funding.
We have been very clear that we want people to access that funding to ease the transition as much as possible. I would encourage people to take it up. It is there as a genuine offer. It is there to be spent in a range of ways that most suit the individuals involved.
I reject the characterisation that Mrs Jones particularly brought to this debate when she perhaps tried to characterise it as some sort of personal vendetta against the individuals involved. This is not about attacking individuals. In fact, most of the individual attacking has come back the other way. That is part of this job; that is the way it goes. I have no disrespectful words for the individuals involved. I have deep problems with the consequences of this, but I would probably happily sit at the pub and have a beer with the individuals involved. That is not the issue here. It is actually