Welcome to the May edition of Greyhound Monthly Victoria. A major development in April was the release of the final version of the Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds, developed by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) and which is posted at agriculture.vic.gov.au/pets/dogs/greyhounds/code-of-practice.
All people keeping racing greyhounds are required to be compliant with the Code and its provisions from 1 January, 2020 which gives us 20 months to make compliance as simple and easy as possible for current and new participants.
The Victorian Greyhound Clubs Association and GOTBA have worked very closely with DEDJTR to make the Code as workable as possible for all involved in the industry, as have many participants and clubs. It is imperative for the future of our sport and our commitment to stakeholders and members that participants have as much information and support as possible as they prepare to become complaint with the new Code.
As the sport’s regulator, Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) will work together with the State Government, Victorian Greyhound Racing Clubs, members and stakeholders to help make compliance as simple and easy as possible for participants and new people joining the sport. Over the next few months, GRV will be developing support materials for participants such as plan templates, ready reckoners, fact sheets and other information.
GRV has created a Code specific web page at greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/state-government-update-to-the-code-of-practice-for-the-keeping-of-racing-greyhounds/. The site contains news and information, including plain English FAQs, that will be updated regularly in response to industry enquiries. GRV is now also examining the new code to develop its regulatory approach and to ensure FastTrack will be fully upgraded to handle Code reporting requirements.
The Government has also announced that the muzzle will no longer be required for retired greyhounds from 1 January, 2019. GRV is committed to the ‘Green Collar’ as it provides the community with positive assurance and confidence. This follows a review of muzzling requirements by DEDJTR, for which GRV and other key stakeholders provided input.
It’s important to note that the Government has amended the Code substantially since the Draft version, responding to input from the industry and others. This reflects their unequivocal and ongoing support for the sport, including substantial funding and regular attendance at our tracks by the Premier, Deputy Premier, Minister for Racing and Shadow Ministers. And the sport has also received strong support from the State Opposition and various local members.
Speaking of planning for the sport’s future, I am pleased to note that the Breeding and Racing Reference Groups have now developed agendas on key issues and you can read more about their work in this edition of the Monthly. The Reference Groups will play a major role in building industry consensus for factors that will drive the sport’s future growth and I encourage you to contact them if you have any issues you think should be raised.
Turning now to the future of retired greyhounds, every Australian state took part in the first ever GAP National Adoption Day on Sunday 29 April, except for Tasmania, which held its day on 28 April. The Day saw 212 greyhounds find new homes including 68 at The Meadows.
In other news, you may be aware, the Warragul race meeting on 5 April was cancelled at the last minute after the stewards decided the new kennels were unsuitable in their current condition for kennelling greyhounds. This was due to issues with the commissioning process for infrastructure works and for which GRV takes full responsibility. We are now working to ensure these issues do not arise again and that Club communications are as effective and timely as possible.
On the track, May will offer plenty of action with the Warrnambool Cup on Wednesday 2 May, a very popular meeting that brings greyhound racing together with its sister code, thoroughbred racing, followed by the Speed Star night on 10 May and Sandown Cup on 24 May. And, finally, I would like to remind you that the 2018 coursing season is now underway in Victoria and with a significant boost in prize money this year, now up to over $167,000. There’s never been a better time to catch on to coursing, which offers a great day out and a fine introduction to the sport at literally the grassroots level.