In this week's committee hearings for the Inquiry into GWIC, Abigail questioned the progress of the greyhound industry since the 2017 reforms.
Abigail questioned a witness on what has happened since the 2017 reforms... Has the industry really reformed?
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: When GWIC was introduced and that regulatory structure was introduced, it was introduced on the basis of giving the industry a second chance to be able to show it could reform. We are a few years down the track and you are saying that there has been some reform from the industry. Are you saying that would have happened without GWIC?
Mr PATTON (Secretary and Manager, Wagga & District Greyhound Racing Club): The inexperience of GWIC has shown that the rules and the regulations—there are policymakers making more and more policies all the time. People are finding it hard to enter the industry. But the stewards have a job to do and they have disqualified people who have done the right—they still have the stewards who made the decision, but unfortunately sometimes the stewards are getting advised by other people on what decisions they should make.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: I will preface this by saying that I think every regulator can be better and GWIC is certainly not without criticism or without the ability to be reformed or for changes to be made. But when you have people from the industry claiming that GWIC needs to be amalgamated into another entity or to be abolished, it does look like the industry just does not want to be regulated in the way it is being regulated. My question to you is: How do you respond to that? How do you respond to the idea that this is really just about not wanting to actually reform?
Mr PATTON: They have reformed. Trainers have reformed.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Because of GWIC or not because of GWIC?
Mr PATTON: No, not because of GWIC.
Abigail then brought up the suspicious number of greyhound deaths on Wagga Racing Track...
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: On that, how many dogs have died at the Wagga track this year?
Mr PATTON: I think this year there are two.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Three possibly?
Mr PATTON: Could have been three, two.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: It is recorded as three.
Mr PATTON: Yes.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: That is quite a bit higher than you had last year. Do you think that is high? Do you think there is a reason? At the track is there more money required for upgrades?
Mr PATTON: Unfortunately these dogs ran into each other. It was not the track; they actually ran into each other. They were race injuries. They were deaths from running into each other.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: Do you think there is a need for more funding for track upgrades from the Government?
Mr PATTON: I understand I am in the budget to have a new track at Wagga Wagga in the next couple of years.
The full transcript of the hearing can be found in Hansard, here.