Issued: Wednesday 4 March 2015 [PDF,33kb]
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant today announced the establishment of a Special Commission of Inquiry into the State's greyhound racing industry to investigate animal welfare and integrity issues.
Commissioner Michael McHugh will be supported in the Inquiry by a reference group consisting of his existing review panel members; CEO of RSPCA NSW Steve Coleman; Assistant Commissioner Mark Jenkins – Commander State Crime Command, NSW Police Force; Chair of the Greyhound Racing Industry Consultation Group Ron Arnold; and the interim CEO of Greyhound Racing NSW, Paul Newson. Stephen Rushton SC has been appointed Counsel Assisting the Inquiry.
Mr Grant said the NSW Government was determined to do all it could to secure the future integrity of the sport.
"The Baird Government takes very seriously the issues facing the greyhound industry in NSW," Mr Grant said.
"I told Justice McHugh to leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the problems facing the industry and offered whatever powers and resources he needs to get the job done.
"Justice McHugh came back to me and said he required these powers and that’s exactly what we have delivered – he now has the same wide-ranging powers as a Royal Commission.
"Today’s announcement underscores the NSW Liberals & Nationals commitment to rid the industry of ‘live baiting’ and ensure animal welfare and integrity are at the heart of the greyhound racing industry.
"The Inquiry will provide a final report by September, ensuring we have a roadmap for the future of the industry in NSW."
Interim CEO of Greyhound Racing NSW Mr Newson welcomed the announcement.
"The Special Commission of Inquiry will allow for a full analysis of the nature and extent of welfare and integrity issues and how existing systems may have undermined the regulator’s effectiveness," Mr Newson said.
"The Inquiry will review the management and governance of Greyhound Racing NSW including the circumstances that contributed to serious failures in industry supervision.
"Inquiries into allegations of misconduct including mistreatment of animals will continue to be the responsibility of the RSPCA as well as Greyhound Racing NSW overseen by me as its interim CEO."
Media: Blake Hardy 0413 378 770