Page 4607 - Week 12 - Thursday, 1 November 2018

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government established the greyhound industry transition task force to assist the people and the racing dogs involved in the industry to transition out of it. For over 12 months the government encouraged people affected by the end of greyhound racing in the territory to consider the assistance offered through transition support packages.

The task force also engaged Woden Community Service, whose staff are experienced in providing support to members of our community at difficult times in their lives, to facilitate counselling and transition support packages. Transition support was central to facilitating the process of ending greyhound racing and trialling in the ACT.

The ACT government announced the availability of over $1 million in transition support when we announced the decision to prohibit racing and trialling well over a year ago. This support was available from August 2017 to September 2018. Woden Community Service, on behalf of the task force, ultimately received formal applications for transition support for five people, one business and 72 re-homed greyhounds.

As announced by the government in November 2017, the period for transition support ended on 30 September 2018. Five individuals negotiated transition support options with Woden Community Service. However, only two individuals decided to sign agreements to receive transition support. These packages totalled approximately $21,000 that will help them transition to new fields of endeavour beyond the greyhound racing industry.

Approved transition support packages were designed to address individual needs and circumstances and included payment for training courses, financial assistance to meet the cost of specialist advice, guidance and planning about future career options, health and wellbeing support and short-term financial assistance to meet immediate need. In order to protect the confidentiality of applicants for transition support it is not appropriate for me to give any further details about these packages or these recipients. The task force also approved 23 applications for greyhound re-homing support to a value of $24,400.

In addition, the government provided an additional one-off grant of $10,000 each to ACT Greyhound Support Network and Canberra Region Greyhound Connections in recognition of the significant ongoing voluntary work they do to re-home former racing greyhounds in the ACT region. Woden Community Service is disbursing payments to all approved recipients.

The ACT government has fulfilled our commitment to stop supporting the greyhound racing industry. We remain concerned about animal welfare in jurisdictions where greyhound racing is still permitted but we accept that some industry participants have chosen to continue conducting business associated with greyhound racing interstate rather than take up the opportunity to transition into other fields of endeavour. While racing continues across the border we are proud to have aligned the ACT’s policies and practices with community expectations and sought to maximise animal welfare outcomes.

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