NSW greyhound racing ban: Greyhounds WA boss says state has nothing to fear

David Hobbs is confident greyhound racing in WA is well governed.
David Hobbs is confident greyhound racing in WA is well governed.

The chief executive of Greyhounds WA has said the industry in this state has nothing to be concerned about following the decision to ban the sport in New South Wales.

New South Wales premier Mike Baird dropped the bombshell on Thursday, declaring greyhound racing would be outlawed in the state from July 1 next year.

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A report commissioned by the government into the industry, in the wake of a 2015 Four Corners report, detailed widespread cruelty.

It estimated between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs were killed in the past 12 years because they were not competitive.

But Greyhounds WA chief David Hobbs said his body, which manages tracks at Cannington, Mandurah and Northam, would never adopt such practices.

“We are a part of government, we’re a statutory body,” Mr Hobbs told Community News. 

“We control three tracks, that are very well controlled with security cameras.

“On the east coast they have some 30 tracks in Victoria and 28 in New South Wales. When you’re trying to run an operation like that, you lose control.

“Our stewards here in WA are the toughest in the nation, probably to the point where people won’t get involved because they’re so strict.

“Stewards in WA have more power than police. They can raid your private property, take your medical cabinet and your greyhound without a warrant.

“It’s very well controlled here in Western Australia.”

Mr Hobbs blames the atrocities in New South Wales on a loss of control by gaming authorities.

“You only need a few bad apples to spoil the bunch,” he said.

“Nobody would condone the practices that took place which was discovered by the Four Corners program.

“Anyone like that is not welcome in the greyhound industry.”

Acting-Minister for Racing and Gaming Mia Davies said the report and shut down came as a surprise and there would be ramifications across all racing codes.

“The NSW Premier’s announcement of the cessation of greyhound racing in July 2017 has come without notice … it is significant and will have ramifications for the broader national racing industry,” she said.

“The accompanying McHugh Report has only been released this morning. It will be digested and any implications specific to Western Australia will be considered in due course.”

In a statement, a Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) spokeswoman said the organisation acknowledged the NSW decision.

“The NSW Premier has indicated an inability to reform the industry in New South Wales as being a primary foundation for cessation of racing in that State,” it read.

“RWWA will work with Government and industry to review Commissioner McHugh’s findings and consequences relevant to WA, communicating a course of action in due course.”