The last month has once again been a very busy and productive time for GRV. We successfully celebrated 20 years of the Greyhound Adoption Program, which received wide media coverage, and our recent GAP adoption days and Little Big Day Outs have enjoyed record numbers. Thanks to all involved, in particular the Clubs and Club Managers.
A series of workshops has recently been notified by GRV to sport participants and key stakeholders. Many are aware that GRV is committed to implementing Sal Perna and Dr Charles Milne’s recommendations. One of the major recommendations made by Sal Perna is to completely overhaul GRV’s regulatory framework. In undertaking this task, GRV will need to develop new policies and approaches to many aspects of the lifecycle of greyhounds. These workshops are critical in assisting GRV to understand the views of sports participants about key policy matters. It is very important to GRV that we understand the views of sports participants and key stakeholders BEFORE we formulate these key policies. So I really want you to actively participate in these workshops.
This series of industry workshops will run from early May to late July and cover topics including training and trial facilities, track design, safety and lures and breeding, rearing and pre-race training. Other subjects will include racing programs and grading, industry education and training, opportunities for smaller scale participants and improving the racing career of greyhounds.
For those of you who may not be aware, GRV’s Chief Steward, Glenn Fish, has taken up a senior role at Racing Victoria (RV) for a 12-month period. Glenn has made a very significant contribution as GRV’s Chief Steward and was absolutely central to our ability to deliver world-class racing events with great integrity and professionalism. His role at RV will give Glenn new learning and development opportunities and we look forward to him returning to GRV in early 2017.
Since September 2015 GRV has significantly increased the number of swabs being taken to test for proscribed substances, and this issue of the Monthly includes a story about the organization that carries out our testing. On the animal welfare front, Ken Waixel has recently been appointed as Manager of GRV’s team of animal welfare officers. Ken has more than 30 years experience in local government in areas such as animal welfare and planning compliance, worked as a risk manager for the CFA and was previously the RSPCA’s senior inspector. A strong focus of Ken’s work is to ensure clear communication between animal welfare officers and participants so that everyone understands their rights, responsibilities and expectations when animal welfare inspections are carried out.
As part of GRV’s focus on achieving world best practice in animal welfare, integrity and racing operations, Stuart Laing and Scott Robins, who head up GRV’s Racing Department, spent 5-13 April looking at greyhound racing in other major jurisdictions. They visited nine greyhound tracks in Florida, including the well-named Melbourne Greyhound Park in the Florida town of Melbourne, and four tracks in the UK, meeting with their counterparts and looking at how their facilities managed track conditions, racing operations and animal welfare. It has been a really important trip and their findings will inform GRV’s operations and planned capital works and feed into our industry workshops.
The capital works program I mentioned will see a major investment by GRV in refurbishing and upgrading club infrastructure across the State to improve track safety, racing operations and visitor experiences. An external capital works expert has been appointed and is currently working on the upgrade of Warrnambool Greyhound Racing Club’s judging tower.
Looking ahead, GRV has developed a new strategic plan for 2016-19 that aims to position both the sport and us for a strong and sustainable future. It builds on the existing GRV strategic plan ‘On Track for a Great Future: Strategic Plan 2014-16’ to position GRV as the standard-setter for animal welfare and integrity and to encourage more industry input to help drive cultural change throughout the sport. The draft will be in the soon-to-be-published issue of the magazine and we’re interested in your feedback.
It has been an exciting time for GRV in developing and delivering our reform program which is now generating some positive outcomes for the sport and I look forward to having more to report in the future.
Chief Executive Officer
Greyhound Racing Victoria