Raising the BARR – Week ending 7 April 2017

Greyhounds Revival

Last week in Parliament the State Government finally introduced the new Legislation to allow for greyhound racing to continue beyond June 30, 2017.  I am ever mindful that not everyone agrees with greyhound racing, so it is more important to focus on the process that has taken place, instead of the topic.  Last July the Government suddenly announced that they were shutting down an industry (greyhounds) that existed in NSW for almost 200 years.  This was announced in the knowledge that people’s livelihoods and financial investments would be shattered.  Based on this announcement, people started to change their breeding, investment and future decisions.

Three months later, in September, in the face of widespread criticism of the decision to destroy an industry, the Premier confirmed that the decision was “locked in” and that there would be no back-down.  Two weeks later, early in October, there was a bi-election in Orange that saw swings of 40% against the Government.  One week after that bi-election, when the Government felt the full brunt of public opinion, the Government said that they had changed their mind and that they would reverse their decision and that the industry would in fact be allowed to continue.

Since October last year, and the decision change, the industry has had nothing more than words and a promise.  And let’s face it, who believes Politicians and who believes a political promise?  So for 6 months, 4,000+ people, their lives, their finances, their passion and their hobby have been in suspended limbo.  Endless nights have been spent wondering “will they or won’t they live up to their promise?”  It’s been quite a cruel and painful journey for people in the banned industry.  So last week, we welcomed the new Legislation which provides a Clayton’s certainty, for the industry.  Why a “Clayton’s” certainty?  For those of us old enough, we would remember the TV advertisements for a non-alcoholic drink brand called Claytons that said it was “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink”.  You see the Government could wake up tomorrow and declare that same industry, or another industry, to be banned.  So whether you are a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker or a greyhound owner, breeder or supplier, you will sleep better with the Legislation having gone through, but you will no doubt sleep a little nervously after the happenings of the past 12 months.