Greyhound Racing Victoria’s 2016-17 Annual Report was tabled in the Victorian Parliament on 19 October 2017 and it, along with a short video of the year in review are available online at grv.org.au/annualreport. It provides a comprehensive overview of the progress GRV and the industry have made on its reform journey over the past financial year and highlights two key points. The first is that there has been a real and measurable cultural change in how racing greyhounds in Victoria are managed and cared for from rearing to racing to retirement and re-homing.
This change is reflected by a 57 per cent increase in re-homed greyhounds with 1314 placed through GAP and a further 1379 through third-party adoption agencies, the RSPCA and industry participants. There has also been a 54 percent reduction in euthanasia rates, overbreeding is now no longer occurring and sustainable breeding options are being developed. GRV also achieved 3964 kennel inspections in 2016-17, a 191 per cent increase on the previous year and it is anticipated that before the end of 2017, all properties with racing or breeding greyhounds will have been visited by a welfare inspector.
Secondly, the report also shows that GRV now has the capabilities and resources to act as an effective, accountable and proactive regulator and in some areas, is now a leader among all Australia’s racing codes.
Inspection, investigation and prosecution functions are now fully integrated, there has been a 56 per cent increase in swabbing for banned and controlled substances, new professional career paths and training for stewards is now in place and, from 1 July 2017, all key race day staff now report directly to GRV.
The Report also details the progress of GRV’s five-year infrastructure program to improve animal welfare, enhance racing and visitor experiences at clubs and support industry development. Speaking of infrastructure, the new Horsham track is attracting much interest and GRV is planning to use the University of Technology Sydney data modelling in its design for future upgrades which also points the way towards developing national standards for greyhound track design.
In other news, GRV is working with the recently formed Victorian Greyhound Racing Clubs Association to hold information Q&A sessions on the new Planning Guidelines. It is expected that about four of these sessions will be held across Victoria, with the first session to be held at Geelong. These sessions will provide an overview of the new planning scheme, detail on key issues and advice on the planning applications process.
Dates and times for these sessions will be announced shortly.
Following valuable feedback from participants, GRV’s Industry Consultative Group, the clubs, GOTBA and other stakeholders, GRV has revised its proposal to provide for a more equitable distribution of the increased prize money and additional funds to stimulate breeding. The new proposal will increase the yearly minimum prizemoney pool in a full year by $3.25 million including up to $1.4 million for a new Sustainable Breeding Support Package of prizemoney and bonuses for owners and breeders of VicBred greyhounds.
For those of you looking to buy a good Victorian racing greyhound, a reminder that the Ready 2 Race annual Auction will be held on November 18. Also coming up is the Hume Cup on 6 November which is always a great family event and of course on 24 November, there’s the world’s most prestigious greyhound race, the Melbourne Cup and I hope to see you all there.