At the instigation of Senator Kaye of the NSW Senate, an inquiry into the NSW greyhound racing industry commenced on 27 August 2013 (Inquiry). More than 2000 submissions were made to the Inquiry. A public forum and initial public hearing took place on 15 November 2013. Further hearings took place on 5 February 2014 and 6 February 2014.
The terms of reference for the Inquiry included matters such as the economic viability of the industry, the financial performance and conduct of the industry and of Greyhound Racing NSW, government initiatives and assistance measures to support the industry, and the welfare of animals in the industry.
The first report of the Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in New South Wales (Committee) was tabled on 28 March 2014 in which the Committee made a number of recommendations. In particular, the Committee found that with its current structure and sources of revenue, the greyhound racing industry in NSW may be unsustainable and that the current management and operational model under which the industry operates needs substantial review and restructure.
In a media release dated 28 March 2014, the Hon Robert Borsak MLC stated, amongst other things, that:
- “…the economic viability of racing greyhounds is in decline for the average owner or trainer in New South Wales”;
- “…part of the sport’s difficulties derive from revenue agreements which do not reward performance or innovation by racing codes in this State”;
- “We found that the incidence of greyhound cruelty and neglect is minimal, and believe that on the whole, greyhound owners and trainers take great care and pride in their dogs”; and
- “We consider that action needs to be taken to improve the ongoing viability of greyhound racing in this State and reinvigorate the industry, but we believe that further analysis of some of the proposed solutions needs to be conducted”.
The second and final report of the select committee is due by 30 June 2014 and will include “financial modelling of the economic impacts of a number of proposals put forward by industry participants” as well as further recommendations to the Government.