THE future of Bathurst’s greyhound track may still be uncertain, but the industry’s breeders, trainers and supporters were in celebration mode on Tuesday.
The announcement that the NSW Government had backflipped on its ban on greyhound racing in the state left some involved in Bathurst’s greyhound industry in shock, and others in tears.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced the ban on July 6, saying a damning report had found there was “widespread illegal and unconscionable activity” in the state’s greyhound industry.
But on Tuesday he backed down.
“I admit in relation to this issue that we got it wrong, I’m admitting that,” Premier Baird said. “We underestimated the community’s desire to give the greyhound industry one final chance to reform. It’ll be given an opportunity to reform.”
The finer details of the reversal of the ban on greyhound racing may still be unknown, but there is speculation that there will be a $1500 bond for every dog bred, breeding will be capped to 2000 and the number of tracks will be reduced.
There will also be a reduction in the number of races and a whole-of-life dog cycle management put in place.
Bathurst Greyhound Racing Club track manager Jason Lyne said he was overwhelmed by the policy backflip.
I always held out hope, but I wasn’t confident.Bathurst Greyhound Racing Club track manager Jason Lyne said of his hopes to have the racing ban reversed
“I always held out hope, but I wasn’t confident,” he said.
But, Bathurst MP Paul Toole was unable to confirm if Bathurst’s greyhound track would be safe in the future.
He confirmed that the greyhound industry itself would decide which tracks would remain, but he did give the local industry a glimmer of hope.
“We’ve got a very strong existing track in Bathurst with solid infrastructure and facilities,” Mr Toole said. “Ours is a TAB track which sets us in a better standing.”
Mr Lyne said hearing Mr Toole’s opinion on the Bathurst track has given him hope that it will remain amid the restructure.
Mr Toole said amid the three month turmoil since the ban was announced he had continued to pass on concerns from the local greyhound industry.
“I’ve conveyed those concerns and those issues,” he said.