Today Abigail blasted the NSW Government for continuing to hide Greyhound Racing NSW's licence even though an upcoming parliamentary inquiry has been tasked with investigating the appropriateness of the operating licence.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (17:19:12): I take note of the written answer given by the Leader of the House in the Legislative Council, representing the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, on 13 October regarding the statutory review of the Greyhound Racing Act 2017. The statutory review that is currently underway sought input from stakeholders and the community on all aspects of its terms of reference, notably including examining and reporting on the "appropriateness of the terms of an operating licence granted to Greyhound Racing NSW". The Act specifically requires this review into the terms of the operating licence.
In seeking to respond to the statutory review, my office and stakeholders like the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds and Animal Liberation tried to find publicly available information on the terms of the operating licence. When it became apparent that no such information was available, we sought information from both the Minister's office and the Office of Racing, only to be told that we were not able to see the terms. In light of the fact that the Government is withholding key documents within the scope of the review from public access and scrutiny, on 23 September I asked the Minister how the Government can expect the statutory review to be robust and legitimate. In full, the response I received from the Minister was:
The terms of an operating licence are commercial in confidence.
What a disgraceful answer. The Minister has not even responded to the substance of my question, doing nothing to explain to the community why the Government has been asked to comment on something that they are not even allowed to see. Even the Leader of the House agreed, stating on 23 September:
If there is information that should be supplied to the inquiry then there is an obligation to make sure that some information sharing is available.
Greyhound Racing NSW's existence is enshrined in the Greyhound Racing Act. It has no commercial competition. Why is the Minister keeping the terms of the licence a secret? The same piece of legislation that reconstitutes Greyhound Racing NSW also recognises that the public has an interest in the operating licence. It is time that the Government releases the terms of that licence or admits that its statutory review into the Act is a complete farce.