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Terms of reference for the Special Commission of Inquiry into Greyhound Racing in NSW

Issued: 4 March 2015     [PDF,37kb]

A. Identify issues in relation to governance, integrity and animal welfare standards in the greyhound racing industry in NSW. 

B. Consider whether the identified issues are capable of being appropriately addressed to permit the continuation of a greyhound racing industry in NSW that is sustainable and provides an ongoing economic and social contribution to the State.

C. If it is determined that the industry should be allowed to continue:

  1. Develop an improved model of governance of the industry, including consideration of the structure of an industry regulator and the extent of the role of the NSW Government in its oversight.
  2. Review the existing legislative framework for the Industry and suggest appropriate changes to the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 (NSW), the Greyhound Racing Rules, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW), and relevant associated legislative instruments, rules, policies, practices and procedures for GRNSW and RSPCA NSW, including (without limitation) to:

a. ensure contemporary best practice governance is adopted for the industry;

b. ensure robust industry supervision procedures and animal welfare measures are established;

c. evaluate the merits of an independent integrity authority;

d. ensure that the GRNSW or industry regulator has the necessary powers, capability and resourcing to detect, investigate and respond to suspected unlawful activity in the industry including, without limitation, the practice of live baiting; and

e. ensure key government agencies, have the necessary powers and capability to properly investigate alleged incidents of animal cruelty and effectively prosecute where appropriate.


3. Identify the overarching principles to be adopted when the industry or any other industry related body makes a decision affecting the welfare of animals.

4. Identify the overarching principles to be adopted when the industry or any other industry related body prepares standards which affect the welfare of animals.

5. Identify the policies, procedures and mechanisms required to ensure industry compliance with the law concerning the integrity of the industry, and the training, breeding and welfare of animals generally (including but not limited to the issue of live and dead baiting).

6. Review the current laws, policies and procedures for the management, supervision and registration of breeders, pre-trainers, trainers and others involved in these aspects of the industry and any associated activities such as the operation of trial tracks and training facilities.

7. Identify the appropriate penalties and sanctions for those breaching legal requirements in relation to the Industry.

 8. Identify the appropriate body to enforce penalties and sanctions for breaches of law concerning the industry.

9. Identify the best practices which are currently employed in other jurisdictions and which should be adopted by the industry.

10. Ensure the Inquiry recommendations have regard to the Quality Regulatory Services Initiative, including the requirements for outcomes focus and risk based approaches to compliance and enforcement.

11. Review existing materials from the Select Committee and the 2015 statutory review of the Greyhound Racing Act 2009 to inform development of a discussion paper. 

D. In conducting the inquiry the Commissioner will:

1. Consult with the Inquiry reference group, to consist of:

a. Mr Steven Coleman (CEO RSPCA)

b. Mr Paul Newson (CEO GRNSW)

c. Mr Ron Arnold (Chair, Greyhound Industry Consultation Group)

d. Assistant Commissioner Mark Jennings (NSW Police)

2. Publish an issues paper and call for public submissions.

3. Analyse submissions and develop an interim report, containing interim findings and preliminary recommendations, to be published for comment by 30 June 2015.

4. Engage in public consultation on recommendations identified in the draft strategy paper.

5. To the extent necessary, conduct formal hearings and examination of witnesses or other interested persons to the extent necessary to inform advice to the Government on potential future governance and oversight arrangements.

6. Analyse stakeholder feedback on the interim report and recommendations in the draft strategy paper.

7. Draft a final report which contains the Commissioner’s final findings and final recommendations by 30 September 2015.