As we enter the new financial year, it is timely to reflect on the transformation of Greyhound Racing Victoria. GRV has worked hard to transform itself to become fit-for-purpose as both a regulator and promoter of the sport. Clear strategic priorities have been formulated to help build a thriving and sustainable future.
The Victorian State Government has been unequivocal in its support for our industry and has also supported GRV’s commitment to making greyhound welfare central to everything we do.
As part of the Government’s commitment to animal welfare, the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources’ draft Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds was released on June 14 for public comment. A range of GOTBA-run and club sponsored workshops have and are being held to assist participants to prepare their responses.
Clubs will also be holding Code Help days at all 13 clubs between mid-July and mid-August to provide assistance to anyone needing help – including one-on-one support – with the submission process.
The submissions period will conclude on August 14 and I strongly encourage all participants to read the draft code and have your say: http://agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/greyhounds/code-of-practice . While this draft Code has been developed by DEDJTR, we will be responsible for implementing the final version of the Code. So your submissions, highlighting what works in the draft Code and what does not, will be very important in finalising a Code that we can all work on together to put into practice.
In collaboration with Victorian greyhound racing clubs, GRV is now rolling out track safety, racing operations and industry development infrastructure. One such initiative is the state-wide implementation of the hoop arm, which is already seeing very pleasing results in injury reduction. Greyhound Monthly will provide a detailed breakdown of these figures in an upcoming edition.
New facilities to assist with the education and training of greyhounds at a number of our racetracks is a key part of a strategic plan currently being developed for GRV’s 13 race clubs. This is the first time such a plan has been drawn up and it is being led by the clubs themselves, with club managers Greg Miller of Sandown and Adrian Scott of Warragul steering the ship. The plan will significantly expand the role of clubs in better co-ordinating and strengthening regional and statewide marketing campaigns.
GRV has completed a review of stakemoney which has been developed following discussions at GRV’s Stakeholder Engagement Workshops. GRV will be seeking to increase overall stakemoney to ensure a wider spread of returns to participants. The Board has now endorsed the package for consultancy purposes. We intend to consult with the industry during July on the proposed package before finalising the details and date for implementation.
Financially, GRV remains in a strong position to deliver these and other initiatives as revenue from Tabcorp and corporate bookmakers in 2016/17 was above our expectations for the year.
Turning now to GRV’s animal welfare and integrity capabilities, which have been the overarching priorities over the past two years and I’m pleased to report that they too are now fit for purpose and delivering the kind of oversight and support that is expected by the community, and which will help secure a strong future for the sport. GRV does continue to find a very small number of participants engaging in unacceptable practices, but the vast majority of participants are committed and passionate people dedicated to greyhound racing and the dog.
Looking ahead to the action on the track, we will see some of the best sprinters in Victoria and abroad running in both the Group 2 Bendigo Cup on 7 July, and then the Shepparton Cup, which will now be held on 29 July, the same night as the $145,000 Hudson Pacific Maturity Classic at The Meadows. So we can look forward to some great racing this month.