Outrage as racing goes to the dogs for Tweed

IT'S a decision that has left Tweed race-goers barking mad. Greyhound Racing NSW yesterday confirmed its move to literally allow the sport on the Tweed to go to the dogs - cutting the number of race days at the Border Park track at Tweed Heads by 20 per cent.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest reckons it's madness in view of the closure of the only Gold Coast track at Parklands, near Southport, which will allow construction of a new Gold Coast hospital.

"They have failed to recognise what should be their primary objective - the promotion of greyhound racing," he said yesterday.

"They are very Sydney-centric."

Mr Provest and fellow National Party MPs from Broken Hill and Moree who faced cutbacks in race days on their tracks which are also close to state borders, met with the board members of Greyhound Racing NSW on Tuesday to protest against a rescheduling of race days.

Under the plan, Dapto, near Wollongong, would receive an increase in race days while Tweed loses days.

Mr Provest said the board promised a final verdict late on Tuesday. Yesterday when they finally advised him, it was bad news for the Tweed.

While Broken Hill and Moree will not lose the number of race days originally proposed, Tweed's will be cut from 50 to 40 - basically one a month.

But Mr Provest says he is not giving up. He plans to take his protest back to the Minister for Racing and gaming Graham West, and is also looking at lodging a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) because he believes the Sydney-based decision interferes with cross-border trade.

He said Greyhound Racing NSW should be taking advantage of the Queensland move to split the 104 race days lost at Parklands equally between Ipswich and Brisbane.

"Currently at Border Park we get about 25per cent of starters from Queensland," Mr Provest said.

"One of the concerns the board had was the prize money was going out of the state. But at the end of the day the meetings are bringing traffic and revenue into our state.

I just don't think they are doing the right thing by the industry, the trainers and particularly country tracks. "I do not believe they are operating in the best interests of the sport."

Mr Provest said during the recent Magic Millions horse racing carnival on the Gold Coast when Southport punting facilities were crowded, turnover doubled at Border Park greyhound racetrack which has on-course bookmakers.

According to Greyhound Racing NSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan the Tweed Heads track will still conduct 40 race meetings a year under the changes. He has argued that is the second-highest number of Non-TAB race dates in the state. Mr Hogan has previously said the redistribution of race days would better reflect demand for greyhound racing.

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