Raising the BARR – Week ending 12 August 2016

New and Improved Service NSW

There is no doubt that people from right across our area will have noted changes at the old RTA/RMS building in Cessnock.  First of all it was sold, and then immediately rented back for 15 years. Then, as tenants of the recently sold building, the NSW Government completely re-furbished the building.  It has been given an enormous facelift at the expense of the taxpayer and is now called Service NSW.  And then finally, following all of this, from the end of September, the hours of operation will be reduced, cut-back, restricted!  Welcome to Baird economics.

Greyhound Racing killed off

About 6 weeks ago now, Premier Baird announced that he would shut down greyhound racing.  There are a range of views on this issue.  Regardless of your thoughts, no-one could say that the idea of a shut-down was being openly and publicly discussed.  It was delivered like a king hit!  Again, I emphasise that there are a range of views – but the term king-hit is about the best description of the announcement.  There are thousands of people who work hard, care for and respect their animals, who have many millions of dollars invested into property, buildings, tracks and training facilities, businesses, vehicles, dogs, etc.  No matter who you are or what your thoughts are, you must have some compassion for the financial destruction that this king hit has caused.

This brings me to the debate in Parliament last week, as the Legislation to kill-of greyhound racing was introduced.  It appears there is a real logical gap in the arguments of the Government.  On the one hand they are saying that it is the death of the animals that is key driver.  But then they state that this greyhound ban should not be interpreted as an attack on any other animal industry like horse-racing.  Well, if animal deaths are your main concern then how can the greyhound decision not lead people to the issue of horse racing?  That is a logical gap!  And then there is the issue of the “social licence”.  What exactly is that?  I would think of social licence as “public opinion”.  I am willing to be wrong and happy to be corrected.  But if social licence is public opinion, where does that place the Government on issues like same sex marriage, the democracy of local councils that are being killed-off as forced amalgamations roll out, or even the public widespread condemnation of the Governments approach to TAFE?  Does the Government not measure the same social licence ruler to their own activities?

I will be participating in the debate when Parliament resumes in 2 weeks.  I will be voting against the greyhound racing ban.  Fundamentally I believe in a couple of important things:

  1. Consistency – you have to apply any rule consistently and that means that harness racing and thoroughbred racing must be in question under the Baird rule, which would cause a catastrophic disruption to our economy, and I am not willing to entertain that idea, so I will not vote for in-consistency;
  2. Reform – I am convinced that the Greyhound industry has been improving and re-shaping its practices of the past 40 years and that this can continue into the future;
  3. Leadership – the Greyhound industry has been deprived of quality and significant leadership over the past 10+ years, which can be quickly and simply changed;
  4. People – I cannot vote to destroy so many people’s way of life including social and financial ruin.  I am 100% for change and reform in the greyhound industry, but not killing it.  Cruelty to animals in the past is something that we can’t change, but cruelty to animals and humans in the future is something that we can control.

For enquiries regarding the State Government or its departments, or to put you in contact with someone who can, please contact my office.  My office can be contacted by phoning 4991-1466, by email to cessnock@parliament.nsw.gov.au or call into 118 Vincent Street (PO Box 242), Cessnock 2325.

You also follow me on my Facebook page “www.facebook.com/claytonbarrmp”, go to Twitter and search @claytonbarrmp or check out my website at www.claytonbarr.com.au

Cheers Clayton