A Dog Act?

The Baird government’s decision to ban greyhound racing in NSW was one of the more surprising and speedy developments in politics in recent times.

The Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 was introduced into NSW parliament on 11 August 2016 and with it being declared an “urgent” Bill looks to be passed in the very short term.

The Bill gives the public the first idea about how the ban will work in practice.  The “greyhound racing closure date” is confirmed as 1 July 2017 with greyhound racing and betting prohibited in the NSW after that date.

The Bill makes provision for an administrator to be appointed to Greyhound Racing NSW.  Administrator will be tasked with managing and controlling the affairs of Greyhound Racing NSW and at the same time wind-up greyhound racing in general.

As for racing and breeding, these get the treatment in the Bill also.  After 1 July 2017 conducting a greyhound racing meeting, operating a trial track, officiating or otherwise participating in greyhound racing meeting or trial track, or providing betting services for greyhound racing in NSW will be punishable by a maximum penalty of $11,000 or 12 months imprisonment, or both.

Further, after 1 July 2017 keeping a greyhound in NSW for racing in or outside of NSW, or breeding a greyhound for racing purposes will attract a maximum $11,000 penalty, or 6 months imprisonment or both.  For a “transition period” (the duration of which is not yet known) it will be defence if the greyhound was registered before 1 July 2017, was kept only for racing outside of NSW, and other requirements of the regulations (again not yet known) are met.

Probably most upsetting for those in the industry is the provision in the Bill which provides that compensation is not payable by or behalf of the State because of the operation of the new laws.  Quite how far that provision of the Bill extends, and to what type of claim is likely to be tested in the Courts sooner rather than later.  How this sits with promises of “financial assistance” is also yet to be seen.

Only time will tell if the Government, in moving to prevent cruelty to greyhounds, has inflicted a different type of pain on those involved in the greyhound industry.  Like it or hate, it’s very soon going to be the law.

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