Media Release: NSW LABOR’S POLITICALLY CONSTRAINED GREYHOUND INQUIRY FALLS SHORT

11 July 2024

The Minister for Gaming and Racing, the Hon David Harris MP, has written to the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) to require it to conduct an inquiry (the Inquiry) under Part 8 of the Greyhound Racing Act 2017 (the Act) into matters relating to various complaints concerning Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW).

Following the announced inquiry, the Greens have expressed serious concerns about how the inquiry will be conducted.

The Greens have called out the preemptive constraint on the findings of any review, and labelled any process that is initiated within those terms of reference as nothing more than a political cover-up and distraction.

Quotes attributable to Abigail Boyd, Greens NSW MP and spokesperson for Animal Welfare:

“This inquiry appears to be, for all intents and purposes, a farce and a political cover up for the greyhound racing cabal. You need look no further than the purpose of the inquiry, as spelled out in the Terms of Reference, which is to ensure a viable and sustainable greyhound racing industry in NSW.

“The terms of reference will necessarily preclude exposing much of the evidence that would lead to there being no option but to close the industry down. This wilful ignorance to the reality of the situation makes a mockery of the inquiry process.

“The terms of reference make no mention of GWIC, yet GWIC’s powers and structures have been proven inadequate in regulating the greyhound racing industry, allowing extreme animal cruelty and neglect to go unaddressed for years. The Minister has chosen to establish this inquiry under the very legislation that has failed thousands of greyhounds in this state simply to avoid the devastating fallout that a more public parliamentary inquiry would have on this industry.

“The 2016 McHugh Special Commission of Inquiry – untethered from any requirement to ensure the industry remained viable – delivered a clear recommendation that the greyhound racing industry should be closed down. It’s clear that 8 years down the track the Government has no intention of listening to recommendations based on actual evidence, and is artificially constraining the powers of this new inquiry to ensure it doesn’t make recommendations that are politically problematic.

“When you have an industry that has proven itself to be as rotten as the greyhound racing industry, if you are to have any chance at getting the truth, you need robust privilege and immunity rules and other safeguards for whistleblowers - Part 8 of the Greyhound Racing Act 2017 lacks the power to make any such provision.

“Without whistleblower protections, it is likely that vast swathes of the inquiry will be conducted in private. This secrecy would only serve to benefit the greyhound industry.

“Similarly, there does not exist a requirement for the report to be made public. The Minister needs to immediately give a guarantee to the people of NSW that he will make no attempt to obstruct the full and complete publication of the report and its evidence.

“The report also needs to be made public immediately, not sat on by the Minister over the Christmas break, with it being February at the earliest before Parliament can require the Minister to produce it. We also hold serious concerns that the 5 month report date has been constructed in such a way as to minimise the amount of evidence that could be unearthed by a more fulsome inquiry.

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