Greyhound welfare commission to call Bathurst post office building home

DOG DAYS: Racing Minister and Bathurst MP Paul Toole.
DOG DAYS: Racing Minister and Bathurst MP Paul Toole.

UP to 60 new jobs will be created in Bathurst when the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission opens its headquarters here next year.

Racing Minister and Bathurst MP Paul Toole has confirmed that the commission would be run out of leased office space in the Bathurst Post Office building on Howick Street.

Bathurst Regional Council signed off on the lease agreement during a confidential meeting on Wednesday night but no further details were released pending an announcement from Mr Toole.

The Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission was established in February in the wake of the Baird Government’s disastrous bid to shut the greyhound industry in NSW.

A report into the sustainable future of greyhound racing recommended the commission as a way of separating the integrity arm of the industry from the governing board.

Mr Toole said the new Bathurst headquarters would be home for the commission’s CEO (yet to be employed) along with administration staff, secretarial support and stewards.

“Ultimately it will be up to the CEO how many staff are employed, but we expect around 30 to 60 in total,” he said.

“The staff will be based in Bathurst but they will be mobile, visiting other tracks across the state.

“I’m very pleased the decision has been made that Bathurst should be the location. It’s a central location with good access to 34 racing tracks across NSW and there is a good presence of greyhounds breeders, owners and trainers here already.”

Mr Toole was among the government MPs that voted in August 2016 to shut down the greyhound industry before becoming the minister charged with saving it following Mike Baird’s departure as premier and an ensuing cabinet reshuffle.

He said the government had listened to the community in backflipping on its decision to close down greyhound racing.

“The government has realised this industry is very strong in regional NSW and that there are a lot of good people involved who treat their dogs as part of the family,” Mr Toole said.

“The ones we should be cracking down on with proper penalties are those who are doing the wrong thing.”

Mayor Graeme Hanger said the announcement was great news for Bathurst.

“The region’s proximity to Sydney and strong transport infrastructure to other NSW regional centres make Bathurst the ideal growth centre for businesses.

“Our city and the surrounding regions offer new and established organisations a strong and dynamic economic environment.

“A combination of low business costs, a highly skilled and diverse regional workforce, solid infrastructure and a supportive business environment provide the setting needed for business success.”