11 Oct 2016

NSW does backflip on greyhound racing ban

2:59 pm on 11 October 2016

A plan by New South Wales to ban greyhound racing has been dumped, following an internal revolt by MPs and a slump in opinion polls.

Greyhound racing

Photo: 123RF

New South Wales cabinet ministers have officially signed off on a plan to reverse the greyhound racing ban.

The ministers are now taking a new policy to the partyroom that will mean fewer races, fewer tracks and a suite of tougher animal welfare measures.

Treasurer Gladys Berejiklian said there would be a "robust discussion" and she was "looking forward to it".

Nationals MP Duncan Gay was one of the first to emerge, saying the cabinet meeting went "very well".

NSW Premier Mike Baird is yet to speak to the media.

Mr Baird had previously dug in and insisted the ban would come into effect as planned in July next year.

But the after a dramatic slump in the opinion polls, an upcoming by-election in the regional seat of Orange and an internal revolt from some Nationals MPs, he has changed his mind.

The change in policy means Nationals leader and Deputy Premier Troy Grant avoided a threatened leadership spill in last night's partyroom meeting.

Ministers said the government proposal would put in place tough penalties with a greater emphasis on animal welfare and dealing with cruelty through more funding for RSPCA and other groups, and increased funding for rehoming capabilities in NSW.

Ban would have been devastating - greyhound trainer

One of the state's top greyhound trainers, Jason Mackay from Richmond Vale, said the past few months since the ban was announced have been horrendous, but he described today's backdown by the Premier as "sensational news".

Mr Mackay said the ban would have had a devastating effect on his livelihood and his family.

"Everything I do is through greyhounds, it pays all the bills for my wife and three daughters," he said.

"It meant losing the property which is five acres, it meant moving, which you don't want to do because all my immediately family is here."

Mr Mackay said he believed the industry could work within the restrictions likely to be imposed.


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