REPRESENTATIVES of Gunnedah’s greyhound racing community will take a 10-hour round trip to Sydney on Tuesday, to protest the state government’s decision to ban the sport.
The delegation will join hundreds from the greyhound racing community at Hyde Park
Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club president Geoff Rose will lead the local contingent and said they would stand side-by-side with people from across the state, to show the industry was united and ready to fight the NSW government.
“There is no denying there are bad apples in the sport, but there is not a sport in the world that doesn’t have bad apples,” Mr Rose said.
“You don’t punish the majority because of the actions of a minority.”
On Friday, the greyhound industry launched the first of its legal challenges to reverse the NSW government's proposal to ban the sport from July, 2017.
The industry filed proceedings in the NSW Supreme Court, seeking a declaration the report used to justify the government’s decision is invalid, and of no legal effect.
Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) chief executive Brenton Scott said the report had a number of “widely identified” errors.
Mr Scott said the industry took issue with the government’s reliance on the concept of a “social licence to operate”.
“The idea that a government can ban a perfectly lawful racing industry, which operates in every state in Australia and in overseas countries with legal systems the same as Australia’s, on the basis that it has lost some form of ‘intangible and unwritten’ social licence would be a very worrying development to many in the community,” Mr Scott said.
“This is particularly so when there are no known legal criteria for the issuing and continuation of a ‘social licence’ and where respected authors have described it as an ‘intangible construct’.”
Mr Rose, who is also the GBOTA chairman, said the industry stood united in the challenge.
“This court case is the hope of industry,” he said.
“We’ve got to win this for the good people in the industry, and all the people not directly involved in the industry but rely on it for their livelihood.”
The latest figures show greyhound racing contributes $6.9m every year to both Gunnedah and Tamworth.