When Premier Mike Baird shocked and shattered tens of thousands of greyhound families Australia wide with his unexpected decision to ban our sport and industry in NSW, collectively we were left reeling.
The NSW greyhound industry, was in effect, ambushed by the Government. The Government had the benefit of preparing its response with exclusive access to the McHugh Report. It chose to release the McHugh Report and the Premier’s proposal to ban our sport at the one time. In the process, it rendered our industry’s normal leadership body, GRNSW, rudderless and unable to respond to this harsh and poorly considered decision.
The NSW GBOTA, the independent greyhound Clubs and major stakeholders have been quick to react to these circumstances. The initial media onslaught was tackled. A united body was formed, and a steering committee appointed to guide the way forward. The steering committee has NSW GBOTA, independent Clubs and other key players in the industry providing high level strategy. Administration support is being provided by Brad Adam, General Manager of Richmond GRC, Ellen Harris, Operations Manager of the NSW GBOTA and myself.
At the current time, all external contractors and advisors have been appointed by the NSW GBOTA under the guidance of the steering committee. Costs, which will be considerable, are currently being met by the NSW GBOTA.
The steering committee is however, putting in place a Trust which will enable Clubs and other interested parties to contribute to a fighting fund.
The unfairness and gravity of the Government’s position has united all of us and we are now progressing our fight with definite strategy and single purpose. And our message is resonating.
Much has been done to ensure we have the best chance of a successful outcome and this letter describes the steps that have been taken and how together we can best attempt to create a future for our industry.
Today is an important turning point. We will be releasing our Rebuttal of the McHugh Report to the Premier outlining why this report is flawed and any decision based on it is improper. The Premier’s intent to ban our industry should not be made based on a flawed Report and an improper process. The dramatic and negative implications for our industry and its total supply chain is only the start. This sets a precedent that impacts other sports, other industries, all local communities, across the broad business sector, including judicial and political systems. It has far reaching implications which we are ensuring become known and considered.
Our plan is to appropriately address all these issues in the right and proper way politically, in the public arena and through the courts. You can be assured that every aspect and angle is being considered and managed. And you are being and will be asked to contribute as part of a very integrated and strategic campaign underway now.
The most important thing is that we show our absolute unity and that we act according to our strategy which is timed very precisely - first in the lead up to the next sitting of the NSW Parliament and then beyond.
Our unity will be reflected in our campaign theme – ‘Racing to a Respected Future’. You will see in this note to you the new logo that is being used to indicate that the entire industry is acting as one. One voice-one vision. This symbolises that we are an industry that is reforming, that we have started making significant changes, that we have the ability to change and that we are committed to ensuring a respected future with a zero tolerance position on animal welfare issues.
This banner makes it clear that we have formed an alliance of all participants involved in the greyhound racing industry - The NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance. The campaign will explain the position the greyhound industry intends to hold in the future – one where we are aligned with reasonable community expectation and one where participants, our greyhounds and our sport is respected.
Our industry reform plan will encourage the Premier and Government to not only consider but quantify our success in meeting the challenges placed on our industry by Commissioner McHugh’s Inquiry.
Our Rebuttal of the McHugh Report and the decision of the Premier is based on its flawed findings and construction. There are many elements to our Rebuttal, well supported by our legal Senior Counsel and judicial process, political and media advisors. A key element of this is the absolute denial to all of us in this industry of procedural fairness or natural justice. It also details where the Report is flawed. It further indicates the implications of this decision on the agricultural and agribusinesss sector as a whole, other sports and the broader community - aligned industries that could be threatened in future, as well as the Parliament of NSW.
In addition to working on our detailed plan for the future, the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance is undertaking the following:
- Our Senior Counsel are working on legal avenues to challenge this flawed Report and process.
- Our experienced political strategists and communications specialists are helping us reach and influence politicians who can convince the Premier to give the sport a fair go
- Our media and campaign specialists are working with the media at every level and you will see coverage in your local communities from next week. That includes engagement with senior investigative journalists to promote the real issues which are likely to make a difference as sensational stories about a ban are considered more deeply.
- We will work with you and directly to engage with local communities across NSW, local Chambers of Commerce, NSW Farmers Association, Australian Veterinary Greyhound Association, Country Women’s Associations, Australia’s Workers Union, Australian Hotels Associations, Clubs NSW, local industry groups, service organisations and local charities and clubs to understand the implications and knock on effect of closing down this industry so that they can lend their support.
Over the next 24 hours we will be launching a new look website as part of the campaign which will help keep you and the broader community engaged and informed. We have appointed a specialist social media group to manage professionally our influencer, social and online presence.
I can assure you all that we have in place an experienced campaign team that will give us all the best chance for success under these very unfair, unjust and difficult circumstances that we have placed under.
Much has been done but there is so much more to do. We are working hard and we seek to work with all who have a stake and interest in our wonderful sport and industry.
We will be circulating key messages documents for you with that you can use. We will provide the key points of our Rebuttal and we will provide suggestions as to how you can be involved in respect to garnering support for our campaign over the next few days. We will likely be asking you to engage in a campaign to your local member of parliament. This will take a format. We need your support and engagement, but in a planned and strategic manner.
On behalf of all now connected with the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance, I thank you, for the resolute conviction you are providing regarding our fight and our reform journey. We look forward to ongoing engagement.
Chief Executive, NSW GBOTA
NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance