It has had its fair share of ups and downs over the past two years, but new Greyhound Racing NSW chief executive officer Tony Mestrov believes the industry has a strong future.
Mr Mestrov was at Bathurst’s Kennerson Park on Tuesday afternoon on the first stop on a tour across some of NSW’s greyhound racing venues.
Greyhound racing was controversially banned in NSW in 2016 before the ban was overturned just months later.
At the height of the anger over the ban, conservative commentator Paul Murray broadcast his Sky News program from Kennerson Park in front of a crowd of about 250 people from across the state.
Mr Mestrov said he is aware that trust from some of the industry’s stakeholders will have to be rebuilt.
“We want people in the industry to be trusting what we do,” he said.
“There’s a lot of negativity in the industry about the future, however Dayle [GRNSW deputy CEO Dayle Brown] and I are quite upbeat about it. We think there are a lot of opportunities around the industry and the government is hugely supportive.
“We are going to be trying to produce a lot more positive stories. We’re working on some wins, which I don’t want to go into at the moment, but there is going to be some wins. There’s going to be some announcements in the next two or three months which I think will give the industry a big boost.”
Mr Mestrov also commented on the decision to base the new Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission in Bathurst.
“I think it’s a real positive. I think coming to a regional area is a real positive,” he said.
“We’ve met with the commission, both Dayle and I. [Chief commissioner] Alan Brown is an extremely experienced person and a man of vast experience. We’re looking forward to working with them.
“We have to work hand-in-hand. If the welfare integrity component is not working well, it’ll affect the commercial part of greyhound racing.
“I think it’s also a good thing for Bathurst and regional NSW [to have the headquarters based in the city]. The regional tracks are really important for the industry.”
Mr Mestrov, alongside Dayle Brown, sat down one-on-one and discussed queries, concerns and questions from greyhound racing stakeholders in Bathurst on Tuesday.
“We are in this together. We are taking a completely consultative approach,” he said.
“We’re only as strong as our tracks and clubs. We really want to work together with them to build a sustainable future.
“We want to set standards, not just from a welfare point of view but a governance point of view.”
Mr Mestrov’s next stop on his state tour is Richmond on January 10.