Greens Highlight Problematic GWIC Regulation

This week's committee hearings for the Inquiry into GWIC saw Abigail revealing several problems with GWIC as a regulatory body. 

Abigail questioned a witness (greyhound trainer and breeder) on the problems with GWIC as a regulatory body and the overarching legislation for the greyhound industry...

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Section 41 of the Greyhound Racing Act makes it an offence to keep—not just to have a possum in the roof, but actually to keep—an animal that could be reasonably capable of being used as a lure. I do not know whether that applies to a chicken, but it would apply to a rabbit, for example, which brings me to my question to you, Mr Bolwell: To what extent are your problems with GWIC to do with GWIC itself, as opposed to GWIC's rules as prescribed by the Act? GWIC has been established with a purpose under the Act and those sorts of things are things that it is obliged to do under the Act. 

Mr BOLWELL: Yes, I understand. I had initial problems with GWIC, which was in my submission, and I am not here to name and shame anybody. I contacted them after doing an investigation for myself on what I believed to be a severe welfare issue on one of the greyhounds which I sold. I want to table this. This was my statement here, which I table to everybody, that I made to GWIC. That was back in 2019. To this day I still have not got a result either way, whether it was I have sold the dog in a bad condition, or it was the person who purchased the dog, if it was his fault that the dog ended up at the vet, which he then handed over to the vet to be euthanised. Basically they let the dog go, put it in the hands of the vet. It was only when the vet contacted me that I did my own homework and went though it. If we have got an integrity and welfare committee set up, and I put in an honest statement, one would expect that they would get back to you with an outcome.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: To clarify the question, because I think there are two separate issues going on here, we have heard from a number of people that they do not like the attitude of GWIC, and that they find them not to be personable, sometimes to be rude and to look down on them, et cetera.

Mr BOLWELL: I agree.

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Is the problem with the legislation? 

Mr BOLWELL: The problem is with the legislation, yes. I think it stems right back. The problem is with the McHugh report, full stop.


Abigail questioned another witness (greyhound trainer and breeder) on the issues with GWIC...

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Before GWIC came into existence and the welfare component of the regulation was being dealt with by Greyhound Racing NSW, you
had similar experiences to what you are having now. My question to you is: Why are you objecting to GWIC now? How are they different?

Mr BURNETT: I am glad you said that, because what is happening at the present time is that the way they treat us on a racetrack is very abrupt, rude, aggressive. We asked a question. If you do ask a question, they do not like you asking them questions. They are ex-police. They treat you with nil respect. Nil respect. I have always grown up with "You earn respect by giving respect". If somebody is in authority of a position, shouldn't they show us respect as trainers? We are only bringing a dog to a track to race it. That is all we do. We do not need to be treated the way we are at this present time. I have had that many people ring me with complaints about the way stewards treat them and the way they speak to them. It is like a bullying way of treating us.


Abigail then continued to address further notable issues with GWIC...

Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I think the evidence shows very clearly that there are these sorts of systemic issues in GWIC that the participants have issues with. We have heard very clearly and convincingly that the industry does not feel like it has been included and taken along with GWIC on this kind of reform that it is doing. What do you think GWIC needs to do now, other than getting independent funding, to reduce the conflict with the industry and to, I guess, go forward?

Mr DAVIS (freelance journalist The Greyhound Recorder): Fortunately, they have recently inducted a panel called the Greyhound Racing Industry Advisory Panel of sorts. I do not know the acronym that they use specifically, but I know some people on that and they speak very highly of what has gone on. Steve Griffin has instituted that. What I understand—and I have dealt closely with Steve on a few issues, I have dealt closely with Michelle Ledger, I have dealt closely with Matthew Tutt, and Wade Birch more recently, the new chief steward. I do not do a lot of work for them. But one document I provided to the members was an assessment I did of all whelpings of 2016-17. I also provided you a document from Greyhounds Australasia, which is on the record the smoking gun that was McHugh and the 17,000 dogs that died in his report. It was a complete and utter fabrication. It is on the record. It is in the special commission report. It was not redacted and it needs to be... The rules are the rules, and I understand that they have got to enforce them, but the rules are wrong. GRNSW and GWIC need to apply some common sense to everything they do. There is not a lot of common sense in some of the rules we are bound to abide by.


The full transcript of the hearing can be found in Hansard, here.

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