A new year begins and whilst GRV has completed much of the development work and significant progress has been made in implementing aspects of the major reform work, there remains much to do in 2017. There are some very significant and large scale tasks ahead that GRV aims to complete this year to help secure the sport’s long term future. Among them is to conclude our response to the reviews undertaken by Sal Perna, the Racing Integrity Commissioner and Dr Charles Milne, Victoria’s Chief Veterinarian.
One of the most significant recommendations is to implement a new Code of Practice for greyhound facilities which is being developed by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources. New Planning Guidelines are also being developed along with a new regulatory framework for the code which will cover rearing, whelping, breaking and pre-training. GRV is also planning to have new Animal Welfare and Breeding Strategies completed and operational before the end of the financial year.
Work is well underway on bringing the existing track at Horsham Greyhound Racing Club to an acceptable standard to enable racing to resume around April 2017. Scoping and feasibility studies are also about to commence in relation to the building of a new straight track in Horsham and priority is being accorded to the development of significant new training centres at Bendigo, Sandown, The Meadows, Ballarat and Sale clubs.
GRV is also continuing to build its own capabilities and has engaged PwC to review the quality of our animal welfare data. The draft review has already identified several key areas where improvements are needed and we are working on this now. We have also been focused on substantively strengthening GRV’s integrity capabilities over the last 17 months. Now the Integrity Department is increasingly recognised both inside and outside the industry as ready and able to act promptly and effectively on reports of suspicious behaviour and other intelligence it gathers and receives.
The Hot Weather Policy introduced on Boxing Day 2015 is now in its second year and its implementation has been steadily refined with 20 race meetings rescheduled or transferred to other venues by the end of January. To further ensure the welfare of the dogs over hot summers, GRV’s transportation policy now requires that the internal temperature of any vehicle carrying greyhounds must be maintained at 32°C or lower and checked by thermometers installed on the vehicle. Transitional arrangements to help participants meet these requirements by 12 March this year will also be backed by on-the-ground support at the clubs.
In other news, a new GRV project that profiles the people of the sport, Greyhounds are My Life, is now being rolled out and you can read more about it in this issue. Looking ahead, the third leg of the Gippsland Carnival, the Cranbourne Cup, takes place this month, building on the Sale and Warragul Cups to present a great program of regional greyhound racing at its best. Once again, the day will feature live entertainment and a range of activities for all the family off the track and I hope to see you there, enjoying the summer at one of Victoria’s best racecourses.