Welcome to what will be a very busy 2016 for Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and our sport in general. Among the changes coming up will be a new and improved Informer with a new title, starting with the February issue. The changes will build on the hundreds of responses we have received from our survey of the Informer’s readership and I thank everyone who took the time to let us know what you think and the suggested improvements.
This year we will be introducing a range of major animal welfare and integrity initiatives including a new website covering greyhound care, a revised heat policy, Advice and Support Officers to provide assistance and help to sport participants, a range of new integrity initiatives aimed at substantially strengthening our regulatory capability, and we intend to undertake extensive consultations and workshops with key stakeholders and members of our sport across a range of issues. We undertake all of these tasks in the context of the recommendations made by Sal Perna and Dr Charles Milne.
At the same time, GRV is currently undergoing a significant organisation review and restructure to make us ‘fit for purpose’. We are aiming to substantially lift our regulatory and animal welfare capability and improve our operations, deliver more services for the sport and make us a much more capable regulator. Also we are aiming to be more evidence based and data driven which I can assure you, will make us more responsive and accountable in regards to stakeholder concerns.
We do this in the context of the Board’s priority to put in place initiatives which are aimed at improving the welfare outcomes for greyhounds. We will also continue to appoint new staff with specific skills such as investigators and analysts and celebrate 20 years of the Greyhound Adoption Program with a new marketing campaign to find more homes for retired greyhounds.
The next few months will also see Paul Bittar report to the Victorian Government on a new integrity model for all three racing codes and the report of the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry. GRV has been consulting with Paul Bittar and closely following the NSW inquiry and will respond in detail to the findings and recommendations in both reports when they are released.
GRV and greyhound racing faced major challenges in 2015. The live baiting charges from February have progressed and are now subject to the court process. We will continue to face further challenges but I am confident we will make strong progress this year in delivering better outcomes for greyhounds, for participants and for everyone that enjoys our sport.
However I wish to say that whilst GRV is in the process of being substantially renovated, it is critical that members of our sport embrace the major cultural changes which are fundamental to the future of greyhound racing in Victoria. If GRV, members of the sport, our clubs and key stakeholders can put animal welfare reforms at the centre of all we do, we will make major steps forward to restore our credibility.
Chief Executive Officer
Greyhound Racing Victoria