Politicians from the State’s major parties have praised a successful rebuilding of the NSW greyhound industry that has won back public trust and confidence and allowed participants to thrive.
“I think you could say it’s job done in terms of restoration of public acceptance for some time now,” Nationals MP for Dubbo, Dugald Saunders said on the five-year anniversary of NSW Premier Mike Baird announcing the industry would close, a decision that was later overturned.
Liberal Member for Wollondilly Nathaniel Smith said the announced shut down was a “mistake” that had been rectified and since allowed for new reforms and welfare initiatives to transform the industry.
“The decision of the previous Baird Government to close the industry is universally accepted by my colleagues as misguided,” Smith said.
“The current Government’s collaborative approach working with the industry is delivering positive results and is producing a model for enhancing the welfare of greyhounds that other states wish to replicate.”
Smith and Labor Member for Fairfield Guy Zangari are co-chairs of the 27-member NSW Parliamentary Friends of Greyhound Racing, a bipartisan group whose aim is to promote greyhound racing throughout NSW as an entertaining, transparent and sustainable industry.
“As a Labor MP we were in the trenches with GRNSW at that time (of the announced closure) fighting a good fight, but the industry has grown and gone in a positive direction since then and the outreach is just fantastic,” Zangari said.
“Our group is across the political divide and has a lot of MPs on board, and I am proud of the work that the group does in broadening the horizons for greyhound racing and taking away the stigmas attached to it.
“There are some people who want to tear it down, but at the end of the day it’s a sport that the average person can get involved in.
“It’s accessible for a lot of the community, does a lot for the community and brings people together.”
Smith said GRNSW had been tasked with making changes over the past few years that had set a new course for the industry.
“Wollondilly is home to many greyhound trainers, who have expressed their support to me for the GRNSW reforms,” he said.
“We are talking about mum and dad trainers that have always wanted what is best for their dogs and now they have a supportive framework to guide and achieve this.”
Saunders said it had taken a “concerted effort” from the entire industry.
“There’s no point people telling you what to do, you need to be in it for the long haul and that’s clearly been shown by GRNSW, and I think that gives everyone confidence, not just the trainers, but also the Government and the general public.
“If you’ve got everyone’s confidence then things will thrive.
“That’s what’s happening in greyhound racing in NSW.”
This article originally appeared in the Newcastle Herald on 16th July 2021.