The passing of the Bill to ban greyhound racing in NSW Parliament could cost the Central Coast economy $79 million per year and threaten the future of the Gosford Showgrounds according to Shadow Minister for the Central Coast, Mr David Harris.
“The NSW Government has outlawed an industry overnight and not told anyone how it will be compensated,” said Mr Harris. “Rural and regional communities, such as ours, will feel the loss quite strongly,” Mr Harris said. “We have been told by the Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) that the cost will be $79 million per annum to the Central Coast economy,” he said. According to Mr Harris, the decision of three National Members of the NSW Parliament to cross the fl oor and vote against their own government’s bill, while another two abstained from voting, was because they were aware of the consequences of the ban on regional communities.
“It isn’t just the owners and breeders, it is all the other suppliers, pet food suppliers, vets and so on,” he said. Gosford Showground, the location of the Gosford Greyhound Racing Club, would particularly feel the pain, according to Mr Harris. “Most of the improvements to Gosford Showground are funded through greyhound racing,” said Mr Harris. Mr Harris said the onus for maintaining and improving the facilities at the showground after the closure of the Gosford Greyhound Racing track in June 2017 would fall on the shoulders of much smaller organisations with signifi cantly fewer resources to devote to the task. “The passing of the bill will also result in a lot of animals being put down,” Mr Harris said. He said the NSW Opposition’s view had always been that the NSW Government’s decision to ban greyhound racing was “too narrow”.
“Labor wanted to give the industry another two years under strict supervision to sort itself out,” he said. “In no way do we condone any of the appalling practices that have been exposed but, according to the NSW Government’s own report, only 10 to 20 per cent of operators were responsible for those practices; 80 per cent of participants in the industry were doing the right thing,” he said. “Even the veterinarians have said that the ban was an evil created to fi x an evil,” he said. Mr Harris said the decision to ban one industry was a missed opportunity in terms of dealing with broader issues of animal cruelty. “The pet industry has quite deplorable practices. “On the Coast, we have facilities that have traditionally euthanased far more dogs and cats each year than the greyhound industry, but this bill will not fi x such problems. “Problems with puppy farms also won’t be addressed by the bill to ban one industry,” he said.
Interview, Aug 24, 2016 David Harris, NSW Shadow Minister for the Central Coast