‘I’m sorry’: Premier Baird

APPETITE FOR CHANGE: Premier Mike Baird (right) and Deputy Premier Troy Grant front the media on Tuesday to announce a wind-back of the greyhound racing ban. Photo: WOLTER PEETERS
Nanjing Night Net

A DECISIONto reverse the greyhound ban has been largely welcomed by Orange’sbyelection candidates, but some warn the future of the industry is still far from guaranteed.

Premier Mike Baird confirmed reports the government wouldbackflip on the ban on Tuesday and apologised to those in the industry who had done the right thing.

Mr Baird saidthe feedback received fromthe community showed it washorrified by Justice McHugh’s findings onanimal cruelty, whichledto the ban, but they also asked togive the industry one last chance.

“That’s what they’ve said consistently,” he said.

“In hindsight, we got it wrong – I got it wrong, cabinet got it wrong, the government got it wrong.”

The decision followed consultation by Dr John Keniry on how the industry would transition.

“He has advised cabinet there is a deep appetite for change,” Mr Baird said.

“The industry will be given that one last chance –I want to be clear, we are not returning to the status quo,the barbaric practices have to end.”

A panel will work with industry and animal welfare agencies, chaired by former premier Morris Iemma, with measures including a possible reduction to 15 tracks, breeding capped at 2000 dogs a year, a $1500 bond per greyhound and a no-tolerance policy on animal cruelty.

Nationals candidate for Orange Scott Barrett said the industry should have control of the reforms.

“I’ve said I want to see greyhound racing continue in NSW and this gives us a path forward and it’s a good outcome ultimately for everyone involved,” he said.

Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate Phil Donatosaid the industry should receive more of the$35 million it contributed to the intercode agreement with harness and thoroughbred racing to spend on compliance and was concerned aboutthe $1500 bond and the economic impact of closing tracks.

“People can’t afford $1500–if theyhave a litter of 10, that’s $15,000,” he said.

He and Labor candidate Bernard Fitzsimon saidthere was still not enough detail.

“Nothing will be done before the byelection and people need to be very skeptical –it’s good news but we’ve got to keep fighting,” Mr Donato said.

“Until amendments to the bill are passed, there’s still no guarantees,” Mr Fitzsimon said.

Independent candidate Scott Munro believed the change would not have happened without an independent in the byelection race.

“We know Labor’son 30 per cent, the Shooters have got 13per cent and I got 15-18 per cent–they know the numbers,” he said.

“Country people don’t forget.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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