Deputy Premier Paul Toole backs booming greyhound racing industry

READY TO RACE: Deputy Premier Paul Toole with GRNSW chief executive Tony Mestrov at the launch of the worlds richest greyhound race the Million Dollar Chase. Photo: SUPPLIED.
READY TO RACE: Deputy Premier Paul Toole with GRNSW chief executive Tony Mestrov at the launch of the worlds richest greyhound race the Million Dollar Chase. Photo: SUPPLIED.

Newly appointed NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader, the Hon Paul Toole, remembers the day as a watershed moment for the greyhound industry in this State.

It was July in 2018, and the then Racing Minister was at Wentworth Park with Greyhound Racing NSW Chief Executive Officer Tony Mestrov to announce the inauguration of the world's richest greyhound race, the Million Dollar Chase.

"That sent a very strong message, that this industry was going to be here for the long term, and it gave people hope of what was on the horizon for the greyhound industry," the Deputy Premier said this week.

"A lot of work went on behind the scenes to make it happen, but it was an exciting event which reinvigorated the industry.

"As a former Racing Minister I know how important the greyhound industry is especially in the bush.

"Many in the industry see it as more than just an income, more than a job or hobby, the greyhounds that they care for actually became part of their family.

"We worked very hard to get it back on track and I worked very closely with GRNSW, and the industry is now in good hands, and it continues to go from strength to strength."

In June the current Minister Responsible For Racing, the Hon Kevin Anderson, announced a new funding model that will see the industry regulator, the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Committee (GWIC) funded entirely by the NSW Government from wagering tax rather than by GRNSW.

"This was a monumental step forward towards securing the long-term future of greyhound racing in NSW, freeing up tens of millions of dollars for the industry," Mr Toole said.

"This new arrangement frees up funding so it can be invested in better facilities, more prize money, and really to secure the sustainability of the industry.

"This is actually about making sure there is a strong future for greyhound racing here in this State and that's welcome news for everybody who is an owner, a breeder, all participants, even for the observers at our racetracks.

"This is also on top of the funding I announced when I was the Minister, for the $30 million being invested by the NSW Government towards upgrading tracks to improve welfare standards to make tracks safer for our dogs.

"Welfare was naturally important, but the Government wanted to work alongside the industry, this was a new pathway forward and I was tasked with the responsibly of making sure that animal welfare was at the centre of decisions being made, but we were also ensuring a sustainable greyhound industry was established at the same time.

"My job was ensuring the industry was set up so that it was going to have a strong future and was sustainable, and when you look at the last five or six years, that's certainly been the case.

"We laid the foundations for that work to be done, to allow it to be in the position it is today."

During his time as Racing Minister, Mr Toole was regularly at industry events be it adoption days at Bathurst, feature events at regional tracks, or in the city for the major races.

"I'm looking forward to when we start to be able to travel and getting back to the track to once again see how greyhound racing is thriving here in this State," he said.

This article was produced as part of an ACM partnership with Greyhound Racing NSW.

This story Deputy Premier backs industry first appeared on Newcastle Herald.