MEDIA RELEASE: “The government is censoring the people who actually care about greyhounds”: AJP MP Mark Pearson slams “hypocritical” government review of greyhound racing act

A mandatory review by the NSW government into the Greyhound Racing Act 2017 is censoring opinion from the public, Mr Pearson claims.

The review is currently accepting submissions from the public, but does not include consideration of a greyhound racing ban.

“It’s censorship to disallow a ban to even be discussed, and extremely hypocritical given racing was banned by the NSW government on ethical grounds only a few years ago,” Mr Pearson said.

“I don’t accept that, and neither should the residents of NSW.”

“The government is calling for public feedback, then telling them what they can and can’t say, just because it doesn’t suit them, or the racing and gambling industries, to hear the most valid opinion out there: that racing should be banned – again.”

Mr Pearson also said the funding of the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission (GWIC) should also be of public concern.

The GWIC was formed as part of the introduction of the Greyhound Racing Act 2017.

Under the act, the GWIC is a NSW government agency, yet in the last financial year $8.4 of its $16 million budget came from Greyhound Racing NSW, a commercial body.

Just $3 million came from government grants.

“It’s a glaring conflict of interest that Greyhound Racing New South Wales funds the majority of the GWIC’s work,” Mr Pearson said.

“As a government agency, the GWIC should be funded by the government, not a commercial body like GRNSW,” Mr Pearson said.

“Even worse, the majority of GRNSW’s funding comes from Tabcorp, meaning the gambling industry has enormous influence in the running of the GWIC.”

The GWIC’s integrity is therefore highly questionable, Mr Pearson said.

“Make no mistake – when commercial bodies are vying for profits in an industry built on animal exploitation, animal protection is of little concern, he said.”

Mr Pearson said the GWIC should be funded by the government.

“If the government cares so much about the integrity of greyhound racing, which it apparently does, it should have no qualms about funding the GWIC,” he said.

In February 2015, the Australian greyhound industry fell under scrutiny after ABC’s Four Corners aired ‘Making a Killing’, an investigative look into the scandals of the sport.

The same month, an inquiry into greyhound racing was set up by the New South Wales government.

A year later, in July 2016, a report from the inquiry was tabled, finding “overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting”.

On the back of these findings the, the Baird government banned greyhound racing across the state, to be effective from July 2017.

In October 2016, Premier Baird announced his backflip on the decision, saying he had made the “wrong call”.

The government is accepting public feedback as part of the act review until Wednesday, 26 August 2020.