Welcome to the start of a new year for greyhound racing in Victoria. 2017 was a very busy year as we near the end of the transformation of greyhound racing and its regulatory arrangements.
I thank the participants, clubs and all other stakeholders for their work and commitment through what has been a long and often complex process. We have made very good progress in delivering on GRV’s strategic priorities of animal welfare and integrity and I think there’s little doubt we are now an Australian and international leader in these areas.
In 2018, GRV’s focus will be on consolidating the reform work to date, returning to profit and moving to a new version of business as usual. However, it will not mean a return to pre-2015 processes and practices.
An independent company, Capability Management was engaged to undertake an environmental scan to assist the GRV Board in refreshing its strategic priorities and we plan to release these refreshed priorities for consultation early this year.
Industry growth remains one of GRV’s strategic priorities and this includes strengthening industry confidence. Here GRV is heartened to see that there has been an upswing in breeding numbers since the introduction of the increases in prize money, the waiving of fees and the introduction of a breeding sustainability package.
Inseminations have increased almost 50 per cent at both our Sandown and McIvor clinics since November 2016 while litters whelped in Victoria have also increased, albeit at a lower rate over the same period.
GRV is seeking public comment on its draft Penalty Guidelines which were released on 15 December. These guidelines propose penalties for greyhound welfare offences that are more in line with community expectations while allowing for discretion for incidents that are not as serious. You can find out more and make a submission at https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/policies-and-guidance
An exciting new development for 2018 is the new Victorian Greyhound Racing Clubs Association that will give the clubs a stronger and more unified say on the sport’s future. GRV strongly supports this new initiative and has provided seed funding and support to help the Association in its strategic planning. On a related note, GRV is also now working more closely with our interstate counterparts to develop a strong national approach to animal welfare and integrity issues.
We will also continue with our infrastructure program which includes a major upgrade of the Geelong track, which reopened last month. Since then Finish on Lure (FOL) races have been trialled at the club with the support of an expert FOL Driver from New Zealand.
And if anyone you know is looking to bring a retired greyhound into their life, a reminder that GRV’s Greyhound Adoption Program is holding a special three-day adoption program at its Seymour headquarters from 12-14 January and you can find out more at http://gap.grv.org.au.