Weeks after the NSW Government received a confronting report that detailed evidence of systemic animal cruelty in the greyhound industry, the NSW Parliament has passed legislation to put a stop to the unnecessary slaughter of thousands of dogs by the industry.
The Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 was passed by 49 votes to 30 and under the terms of the Bill, greyhound racing in the state will end on 1 July 2017.
This decision stems from a Special Commission of Inquiry that was held into Greyhound Racing in NSW, which recommended Parliament should consider ending greyhound racing in the state. This has now occurred and I’m pleased the Parliament has strongly supported the Government’s decision, because it is the right one, even though it has been a difficult one.
The Special Commission found compelling evidence of systemic animal cruelty in greyhound racing and concluded there was a culture of cover-up that gave no comfort to those who hoped it could be reformed.
The Commission received about 2,000 submissions, amounting to more than 3,800 pages, and reviewed more than 151,000 pages of material and 115 hours of video and other recordings. All of that resulted in the Commission coming to the view that the greyhound industry had lost the trust of the community, and while there were some good people in the industry, they had been let down badly for too long by the industry as a whole.
This Bill was eminently worthy of bipartisan support, but the Opposition Leader has chosen the path of opportunism over principle – something he will need to explain to the voters of NSW. This isn’t an example of class war. What an insult to working people to suggest that animal welfare resonates any less with them than with anyone else.
This has been a very difficult decision but the Government stands by it 100 per cent and will do everything it can to transition the industry.
In other news, it was great to join the NSW Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott to turn the first sod on the $40 million project to redevelop the Anzac Memorial in Sydney’s Hyde Park.
Work has begun on the major upgrade, which will bring the original 1930s vision of Sydney’s Anzac Memorial to life, and ensure future generations can continue to honour those who fought for the freedoms we enjoy today.
Budget constraints during the Great Depression meant the original architectural plans were never completed. The redevelopment includes plans to build an education and interpretation centre beneath the Anzac Memorial, and a water cascade at the southern side of the Memorial.
The $40 million upgrade is jointly funded by the NSW and Australian Governments. It is due to be completed when Centenary of Anzac commemorations conclude in 2018.