This article was published in the Newcastle Herald on 14th November 2021.
LATEST independent research figures show there are now 1.4 million greyhound fans throughout NSW, leading some regional State MPs to declare the scale of support for the industry is at an all-time high.
Dubbo MP Dugald Saunders said research conducted by Futures Sport and Entertainment, revealed in the Greyhound Racing NSW 2022-24 Strategic Plan, illustrated the overwhelming support for the greyhound industry in regional NSW.
“This is a big number – 1.4 million fans – and we know that in the industry’s heartland of regional and rural NSW that there is more confidence, more support, more engagement and an undeniable transformation of the industry,” he said.
“The success of the industry over the past four years is well recognised, including politically, across key animal welfare, participant support and commercial measures.”
It was a sentiment echoed by the Leader of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party the Hon Robert Borsak MLC, who welcomed the Futures results.
“The greyhound racing industry has always enjoyed significant support from people in the bush,” he said.
“It is great to see this support rapidly growing to reach new heights. This is a testament to the love, passion and care participants and Greyhound Racing NSW have for their dogs and livelihoods.”
In FY2020-21 GRNSW set new benchmarks across a wide range of areas from welfare and rehoming to prizemoney and wagering. GRNSW has immediately set its sights on the future and recently unveiled a strategy to ensure the next “game-changing” phase.
“Greyhound racing in NSW has never been in a healthier position, and that has been verified by independent research showing the industry now has 1.4 million fans across the State,” GRNSW Chief Executive Officer Tony Mestrov said.
“The success of the past few years has laid the foundation for us to build even greater achievements, with a focus on animal welfare outcomes.”
Several key projects in the FY2022-2024 strategic plan are already underway, including what will be a world first animal welfare-focused farm-stay facility for retired greyhounds who need some time to transition from the racetrack to life as pets.
GRNSW has engaged the best available team of experts to design a centre of excellence at the 135 hectare site at Bylong Park in the Upper Hunter Valley, with animal welfare and wellbeing as the priority.
It will be a well-designed and attractive facility that complements the environment and recently GRNSW submitted the DA to the local council.
The new strategic plan has been developed with a focus on a thriving greyhound racing ecosystem in NSW, from the livelihoods of participants to whole-of-life-care for our greyhounds.
“GRNSW aims to achieve its vision through focusing on four strategic pillars – care, community, growth and engagement – all of which are bound by sustainable practices,” Mr Mestrov said.
“The progress and outcomes of each pillar will be measured by focused leading indicators. The strategy’s framework supports GRNSW to be world leaders in “boots on the ground” animal welfare care and to implement innovative racing and wagering outcomes that have the potential to grow existing revenues and bring new income streams to sustain and future-proof the industry.”
Safety and the wellbeing for greyhounds is at the forefront of everything GRNSW strives for, and a key focus of the plan is developing the best environment for all greyhounds in the industry by ensuring lifetime care, re-homing programs, track safety measures, education and other critical animal and participant welfare care programs.
The strategic plan also concentrates on providing support to clubs, participants and wider communities involved in greyhound racing, particularly in regional and rural areas where the majority of participants reside, maximising wagering turnover through optimised product portfolios, diversification, technological advancements and best practices that are integrity-based and compliant across any region, and to deliver increased revenue from these efforts.