In a unanimous decision, precipitated by unprecedented times, the 2019-20 Greyhound Racing Victoria Board Leadership Award recipient is the ‘whole industry’.
“We have changed it up,” said GRV Chair, Ms Peita Duncan. “We had a Board meeting where we chose who that recipient would be, and to be honest, it was unanimous because of the year we’ve had.”
Ms Duncan added: “It’s not just around the COVID pandemic at the moment, but getting through the bushfires and canine (corona)virus, which means we lost race meetings because we didn’t have enough dogs, and now obviously the enormous effort that’s gone into keeping us racing.
“And to my competitive nature, I just want people to remember that Victoria – and I’m very proud of the Board and the executive team about this – we just held the line from the first lockdown in March until today, and we worked very hard with our State Government.”
Ms Duncan expressed her thanks to the Premier and Minister for Racing “for supporting us and understanding that we are low to no risk, and that’s allowed us to continue to race”.
“What I’m particularly proud of, is that we stood tall and we did not reduce our race program to regional models or take races away. We did not reduce our prizemoney across the board, we only reduced feature races, which we had to… and I think the trainers were more than understanding of that.”
Ms Duncan added: “And we just kept going and tried to be five steps ahead in terms of protocols on track to keep us racing… So that the trainers, the dogs, the whole industry kept ticking over; and for the communities they live in as well and for the livelihood and safety of the dogs and trainers and their mental health, we just were not going to put ourselves at risk.
“And I think the participants with their dogs, Greyhound Racing Victoria, all of the staff at GRV, we’ve absolutely come together as a big family and we have knocked this out of the park in terms of being able to continue to race the full program. And not only that, we have three extra race meetings a week.”
Ms Duncan said that “whilst we’re in crisis, we’ve also seen the opportunity to innovate”. “And we’ve done that, and for the first time ever we’ve put our vision into the US – that is happening. We’re doing the day-to-day managing of COVID issues and keeping things on track. But at the same time, we’re still continuing on that commercial journey, albeit a bit different now… But we’re still pushing hard on any innovation we can get.”
Ms Duncan added: “So, having said that, the Board unanimously decided that the leadership award this year is going to every single participant in the industry… So, I just wanted to congratulate everybody. And I’m really proud of that, and it’s all about the people in the end that make an organisation or an industry great. And I think that without a doubt we have stood up and we are shining like a beacon. I feel quite emotional about this because I’m so proud of what we’ve done.”
And Ms Duncan concluded: “This is just our way to acknowledge everyone in the industry because you have shown nothing but leadership and support and you understand what the consequences could have been for us, and I’m very proud of that.
“So, congratulations to everybody, keep doing what we’re doing and once we’re through COVID, I’m hoping it’s at the end of the year, my plan is I will go to every single track in Victoria – just at a normal race day, not for a big event – just to go and to thank the trainers personally myself at every single track.”
The GRV Board Leadership Award was introduced in 2019 as the highest award of excellence to a leader in the Greyhound Racing Victoria industry and/or community.
The GRV Board Leadership Award acknowledges the strategic priority of the organisation surrounding social responsibility and focuses on influencing and maintaining productive relationships across the industry and community.
The award aims to recognise those who over the 2019- 2020 racing year have contributed to the sport of Greyhound Racing in Victoria, and have displayed the GRV values of integrity, Collaboration, Safety, Transparency, Responsiveness, Progressiveness and respect in the promotion of greyhound racing, breeding, owning, training and adopting of greyhounds in Victoria. With a focus on
- Leadership and role modelling across the industry
- The contribution of females in the sport of Greyhound Racing in Victoria
- Promotion of social values in the sport of Greyhound Racing in Victoria
The GRV Board Leadership Award is not limited to persons registered with Greyhound Racing Victoria. Any person is eligible for nomination if they meet any 2 of the below criteria.
- Volunteered at a Greyhound Racing Victoria club, event or activation in a community engagement aspect in the 2019- 2020 racing year
- Been engaged in the promotion of greyhound racing breeding, owning, training and adopting across the 2019- 2020 Calendar
- Shown exemplary leadership values and attributes in the promotion of the Greyhound Racing industry in Victoria
- Has supported community engagement initiatives of Greyhound Racing Victoria across the 2019- 2020
- Has supported the promotion of equality initiatives of Greyhound Racing Victoria across the 2019- 2020 Calendar
- Has supported the development of females in the Greyhound Racing industry in Victoria
- Shown a commitment or demonstrate a commitment to greyhounds and the welfare of greyhounds within the community