The Victorian Government’s pending new Code of Practice, relationships between GRV and participants and a new prize money agenda were among the big-ticket items put on the discussion table at the most recent Industry Consultative Group (ICG) meeting.
The underlying theme of the meeting was building industry confidence, and ICG members provided invaluable intelligence on a range of topics including the life cycle of greyhounds, grading, racing, swabbing, the role of clubs, capital works and veterinary training.
With varying opinions around the table, suggestions such as the introduction of breeding incentive and reward schemes were seen as crucial to restoring industry confidence, as were announcements of upcoming infrastructure improvements at racetracks and increased communication from GRV including more face-to-face interaction with participants at clubs.
The ICG advised that relationships between participants and GRV staff had significantly improved in recent months, thanks to a friendlier approach by welfare and investigations teams when visiting greyhound properties. ICG members also suggested GRV staff would benefit from being educated about greyhound welfare and trainer needs to assist them in having more practical expectations around swabbing.
One ICG member said she regularly heard complaints from participants along the lines that they have never been subjected to such strict compliance from GRV. She added that participants should be thankful that this is the case.
With regard to the State Government’s pending new ‘Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds’ – which will replace the previous Government’s existing ‘Code of Practice for the Operation of Greyhound Establishments’ – one ICG member said that “when it comes to compliance there would always be resistance”.
The ICG highlighted that the new Code, which GRV understands will soon be released for public consultation, has seen participants raise concerns that they won’t be able to comply with the possibility of increasing infrastructure requirements to their properties. The attendees also added that support from GRV will be crucial to keeping people in the sport.
The ICG also provided valuable feedback on a proposed new prize money structure, which is aimed at spreading money more evenly across the board.
WHAT IS THE ICG?
In 2016, the Board of Greyhound Racing Victoria appointed an Industry Consultative Group (ICG), with members having appropriate experience and diversity across a number of areas. The ICG meets every six weeks to discuss major issues facing the industry, out of which suggestions are forwarded to GRV’s Board for consideration.
The ICG panel currently includes Judith Bornstein (Chair), Dr Barbara Backhoy, Steven Clarke, Tracey Corneille, Peter Craig, Leeanne Crawford, Marg Long, Daniel Nugent and Sandra Reed, with several other positions currently in the process of being filled.