New greyhound track on North Coast attracts opposition
An animal rights group is urging the state government to block the development of a greyhound racing facility proposed for the Tweed region claiming the proposal would cause injury to the dogs and promote problem gambling.
In August last year the Tweed Heads Coursing Club purchased a 32ha parcel of land at Chinderah for $2 million which was touted to be "Australia's biggest greyhound racing precinct''.
Under NSW Greyhound Racing, the centre of excellence would include a straight track, a circle track and a greyhound rehoming program with the most modern and safest equipment available.
Last Thursday Animal Liberation sponsored by the state member for Ballina Tamara Smith launched an e petition to the New South Wales state government to block the development by a number of means.
The petition calls for the Legislative Assembly to ensure: no public moneys contributions towards the Tweed greyhound track development or prize money for Tweed greyhound races; no further racetrack licences or race dates until the industry's track standards are made public, and the industry commits to implementing the University of Technology Sydney track report recommendations; and, protection of the regionally significant land purchased for the development of the proposed Tweed greyhound track.
Regional Campaigns Coordinator Lisa Ryan claimed the developer had ignored a study undertaken by UTS which concluded greyhound racing injuries and deaths can be reduced through straight tracks, six dog races and the re-positioning of the lure.
"Across Australia in 2020, 9,861 greyhounds were injured and 202 were killed on race tracks, of which 2,821 injuries and 48 deaths occurred on NSW tracks," Ms Ryan said.
"The petition claims the proposed Tweed greyhound track development will compromise greyhound welfare and contribute to ongoing greyhound track injuries and deaths; increase problem gambling, and support an industry that has no social licence and doesn't meet the public's expectations."
A Greyhound Racing NSW spokesman said the organisation did not agree with the assumptions and suggestions made by the petitioners.
"(GRNSW) has worked extremely hard on welfare and track safety over the past three years, with injury rates dropping 45% in the past year," he said.
" GRNSW is able to race at the new venue under the Greyhound Racing Act."
He said the facility would be built to the best safety standards in greyhound racing, and as the case is with all greyhound racing in NSW, would provides substantial benefits to the local and greater community, with millions of dollar each year poured back into the community.
"GRNSW continues to put welfare and safety at the forefront of everything we do," he said.
"Our injury rates have decreased dramatically, and our rehoming of greyhounds rose 83.4% last financial year.
Tweed Heads Coursing Club secretary Stephen McGrath said the club was still in the process of designing the master plan of the facility with no proposed time frames.
He said any development would be compliant with the standards placed by Greyhound Racing New South Wales and the government.
"If Tweed Heads does not want this club to invest $15 million to 16 million, that's not a problem," Mr McGrath said.
"It's the Tweed Heads Coursing Club's money, it's being built for the greyhound industry to participate in."
He said greyhound racing had a history in the region dating back to the 1900s.
"It's not as if we haven't supported the Tweed Shire for many, many years," he said.
"You don't have to love it, you don't have to hate it, as long as it's made as safe as absolutely possible.
"If we build something we are required to build it to the highest possible standards and those standards are changing month by month year by year.
"Animal welfare has always been at the forefront of (GRNSW's) mind."
The petition viewed here.