If upgrades to Taree's BBet Park are anything to go by, 32 greyhound tracks across NSW are in for a real treat.
NSW Better Regulation and Innovation Minister Kevin Anderson visited Taree on Tuesday March 9 to announce the State government will fund track upgrades that will meet new minimum safety standards and reduce injury rates in greyhound racing.
Funding has been allocated to 20 clubs, while consultation with the remaining 12 continues.
"This is putting welfare and integrity at the top of everything Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) does," Mr Anderson said.
The Taree track was one of the 20 named but has already benefited from a $455,000 upgrade, which included air conditioning for kennels, new vet areas, tie-ups, and jump boxes.
Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead said the safety standards are for the welfare of all racing greyhounds. The Taree track is proof of this.
"As a result of these upgrades, the Taree track has gone from 'just one of the tracks' to being second only to Wentworth Park for TAB turnover, the amount of races and dogs," Mr Bromhead said.
"This has been very successful and this is why we (State government) are trying to roll it out across regional NSW to look after the tracks and dogs.
"It's been fantastic for our area because more dogs means more people involved, more jobs and more money for the economy.
"It's also a lot better for the dogs, the welfare of the dogs is paramount and that's what the funding is doing."
GRNSW, the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission and Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association assessed each track and partnered with University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to determine minimum track standards and what safe tracks will look like (including straights, corners and turns).
GRNSW deputy chief executive Dave Brace said the standards could the highest anywhere in the world.
"Welfare is at the forefront of everything we do," Mr Brace said.
"That minimum standard is quite high and it's all about the welfare of the greyhounds."
Upgrades at the Taree track also allowed Taree Greyhound Club to transition from non-TAB to TAB racing. This immediately attracted bigger and better races.
"That's good not only for the greyhound track but for the area with the added economic benefits," Mr Brace said.
The track will host a heat of the $130,000 GRNSW Country Challenge in June.
The funding plan will ensure all NSW tracks are upgraded to comply with the minimum standards within the next three years.