THE local greyhound racing community has been left devastated after the bill to ban the sport in New South Wales was passed in Parliament last week.
Following a marathon debate stretching into the early hours of the morning, the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 was passed 49 votes to 30.
Local greyhound owner Debbie Robinson said many people will be financially ruined by the ban.
“There is a lot of bitterness within the greyhound community, they are angry that this is being taken away from them and many people’s livelihood are now gone,” Ms Robinson said.
“The passing of the ban will not just stop racing itself, it will also result in the destruction of the social aspect of it and for most people in the Industry, this is their entire lives.”
Ms Robinson said Greyhound Racing NSW had been working towards reforms before NSW Premier Mike Baird made the shock announcement to ban the sport last month.
“As part of the reforms package they came and inspected everything, the dog’s’ health, all the paperwork, all checks were done,” she said.
“Most greyhounds are treated well, and the only mistreated ones are those owned by the few who disregard the law. Why couldn’t a three-year improvement plan be organised instead of an outright ban?”
Port Stephens MP Kate Washington voiced her opposition to the Bill during the 12 hour Parliamentary debate and thanked the many people who took the time to share their views with her.
Ms Washington acknowledged that the “hardworking and decent people of the greyhound industry have every right to be angry and hurt, particularly those in rural and regional communities.”
“The only recognition in this bill of the pain that will be inflicted on people is one line which states that no compensation is payable. It is one thing for the Government to shut down an entire industry, but it reaches a new level of wrong when significant losses will be incurred and the Government has made no provision whatsoever to support them,” Ms Washington said in Parliament.
“This is no way to treat the hard working caring people that I have met. It is no way to treat the majority of people in the industry who have never done anything wrong.
At the end of the day, how can anyone be compensated for the loss of a way of life or for the loss of a social network that is depended on every day,” she said.
The Legislation was passed around 3.40am.
Myall Lakes MP Stephen Bromhead voted in favour of the ban whilst Kate Washington voted against.
Under the ban, anyone participating in or organising a race after 1 July next year will face an $11,000 fine and one-year in jail.