Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead has said that the NSW government “underestimated” the public’s desire to give the greyhound industry “one last chance”, following the dramatic reversal this week of plans to ban greyhound racing.
NSW Premier Mike Baird announced on Tuesday a backdown on the proposed greyhound ban, which was to have taken place from July 2017.
Mr Bromhead, who had voiced his support for the ban when it was announced in July, said the reversal had come after the government listened to community concerns about the racing ban and the way it was implemented.
“I’ve had the opportunity over the last few weeks and months to speak with other Members and relay the concerns of my electorate,” Mr Bromhead said on Tuesday.
“I think it’s the mark of a good government and a good Premier that we can listen to the people.”
Fairfax Media had reported that a revolt in the Nationals Party, which could have culminated with a leadership challenge to NSW leader Troy Grant at Monday’s party meeting, was avoided with the ban backdown.
Mr Bromhead said that animal cruelty must be stamped out in the industry’s final chance.
“It’s clear the community agrees we must put an end to the animal cruelty...pure and simple,” Mr Bromhead said.
“But we underestimated the community’s desire to give the greyhound industry one last chance to reform.”
The comments are in stark contrast to those made by Mr Bromhead and many other members of the NSW government following the announcement of the ban earlier this year.
In an interview with the Times on July 8, Mr Bromhead said he sympathised with “the many good people” involved with greyhound racing in his electorate.
However, he said that industry changes were “too little and too late” and that there remained a “systemic animal cruelty in the sport.’’
“I have friends and relatives who are trainers,’’ he said at the time.
“The industry made changes but there remains an underbelly of animal cruelty within greyhound racing and that’s not acceptable.”
The State government will now push for the tightest regulations on greyhound racing in the country, including increased jail terms for live baiting, an independent industry regulator and registering greyhounds for their entire lives.