About / History and Greyhound Reform
In February 2015, the media exposed serious animal welfare breaches and industry corruption in the NSW greyhound industry. The revelations surrounding the practice of live animals being used to train greyhounds shocked the general public. Five registered trainers were immediately stood down and the board of the governing body, Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) was disbanded.
The public outcry prompted the NSW Government to establish a Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW, led by the Hon Michael McHugh, AC QC. The Special Commission of Inquiry was tasked with investigating animal rights abuses in the greyhound industry and making recommendations on its findings to the NSW Government. The Commission of Inquiry’s report (the McHugh Report) raised serious concerns relating to the management and governance of the greyhound industry. The report recommended the government consider whether the industry had lost its social licence and should no longer be permitted to operate in NSW.
Greyhound industry ban and ban reversal
Following the release of the McHugh report in June 2016, NSW Premier Mike Baird announced a ban on the greyhound industry. He said the report proves the industry was no longer entitled to the trust of the community. The greyhound industry launched a legal challenge against the ban in the Supreme Court and then the Federal Court. In October 2016, the Premier announced a reversal of the ban on the greyhound industry, admitting the government “got it wrong” and the industry deserved one final chance.
The Greyhound Industry Reform Panel
When NSW Premier Mike Baird reversed the ban on the greyhound industry, he also announced the establishment of the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel to provide recommendations on potential new animal welfare and governance arrangements to reform the industry. The reform panel made 122 recommendations and the NSW Government accepted all but one of these recommendations. A key recommendation was to separate the commercial and regulatory functions carried out by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW). GRNSW will retain the commercial arm, while the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission will administer welfare and regulatory functions.
Greyhound Racing Act 2017
Key parts of the Greyhound Racing Act 2017 (GRA) commenced on 3 July to regulate greyhound racing and to provide for the welfare of greyhounds. The Act constituted the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission and reconstituted Greyhound Racing NSW. A number of the provisions will not come into effect until welfare and regulatory functions transition from GRNSW to the Commission. The GRA repealed the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Act 2016 and will repeal the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 once it has fully commenced from July 2018.