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Out of action: At least half of all greyhounds bred to race were killed in the past 12 years. Photo: Anthony Johnson Michael McHugh: the meddlesome man who let the dogs outPremier betting greyhound ban won’t impact NSW gambling revenueTen greyhounds a week euthanised after racing
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

The special commission of inquiry that triggered the closure of the state’s greyhound racing industry did not hear evidence from the sport’s former top integrity official, who has slammed the process as “procedurally unfair and lacking common decency”.

Bill Fanning, the former general manager of racing and integrity at Greyhound Racing NSW, served as the industry’s top investigator for six years leading up to the unravelling of the sport after ABC’s live baiting expose in February 2015.

Mr Fanning’s condemnation came as two National party MPs criticised the decision, which was backed by their leader, Deputy Premier and Racing Minister Troy Grant.

MP Katrina Hodgkinson, whose electorate covers greyhound tracks at Cowra, Young and Temora, said the ban would cost her area thousands of jobs. Nationals MP for Barwon Kevin Humphries was also unhappy, telling Fairfax Media he would be seeking to have the decision reviewed and was critical of the fact the measures had not been brought in with consultation.

Mr Fanning had given 12 months notice of his intention to retire from the job in late 2014 and brought forward his exit to be months earlier after the live-baiting scandal erupted.

He received correspondence in May from the office of Stephen Rushton SC, counsel assisting the commission, that adverse findings were possibly made against him in the 800-page special commission report, but was not previously asked to appear at any public or private hearing, which had taken place in the months prior.

“No consideration has been given at all to those people affected and they weren’t given the common decency – let alone procedural fairness – of even appearing to defend themselves,” Mr Fanning told Fairfax Media. “They should be given an opportunity to be heard. It’s absolutely disgraceful we weren’t.

“I’m strongly of the opinion that the commission itself was just set up in the first instance to indicate the industry be shut down. Procedurally the inquiry was terribly deficient.”

High-ranking GRNSW officials to appear at public hearings of the special commission were restricted to chairperson Eve McGregor and her predecessor Professor Percy Allan, the organisation’s then chief executive Brent Hogan and its former manager of education and welfare Tony O’Mara.

The governing body’s chief steward Clint Bentley, who answered to Mr Fanning, also appeared but his ex-superior was never asked to give evidence.

Twenty-six witnesses appeared during 10 days of public hearings while evidence was taken from 43 witnesses in 11 days of private hearings.

Added Mr Fanning: “How limited is that? The government has received a very poor report, which didn’t include the broader cross section of the industry.”

Mr Fanning conceded GRNSW’s failure to fully disclose the extent of greyhound injuries and deaths in stewards reports after race meetings was “at worst a poor error of judgment”, but denied integrity officials turned a blind eye to live baiting.

NSW Premier Mike Baird declared the special commission found up to 20 per cent of greyhound trainers engage in live baiting and between 48,000 and 68,000 greyhounds – at least half of all greyhounds bred to race – were killed in the past 12 years because they were deemed uncompetitive.

“People have come out and said we failed to police live baiting,” Mr Fanning said. “That’s absolute rubbish.

“Every single report we had of live baiting was investigated. The fact we couldn’t pick it up … we didn’t have the powers of surveillance, which eventually brought the industry down. And when we approached the government to get those powers [after the live baiting scandal] we were swiftly told we wouldn’t get them.”

The state’s industry will be wound up by July 1 next year.

Mr Baird and Mr Grant have already been lobbied by colleagues to reassess the decision with Ms Hodgkinson throwing her support behind the industry.

“It’s hard to get 1000 jobs let alone just abolish them in one fell swoop,” Ms Hodgkinson said. “I’ve talked to a couple of breeders and they have said, ‘what’s my life worth living now? What is it without my dogs?’ It’s really sad.

“I spoke to [NSW Nationals leader] Troy [Grant] and he’s sticking firmly by his guns and I’m sticking by my constituents, my breeders and my trainers.”

NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley told Fairfax Media that Mr Baird had “jumped the gun” in foreshadowing the closure of the industry, which has sparked concern for the welfare of thousands of young greyhounds and those yet to be whelped.

“Michael McHugh has put forward 80 recommendations to improve the industry and his first recommendation was that Parliament should discuss whether the industry ought to be shut down,” Mr Foley said.

“The Premier has pre-empted that parliamentary discussion by announcing the industry will just be shut down.” Sport’s history in NSW

1860s: First sporting use of greyhounds in Australia.

1912: Racing in its current form started in America, with invention of the mechanical tin hare.

1927: Tin hare racing was introduced to NSW and the first meeting held at Epping Racecourse (now Harold Park). Frederick “Judge” Swindell established the Greyhound Coursing Association (GCA).

1928: Changes to the Gaming and Betting Act prevented betting after sunset and issuing new licences to greyhound racers, halting the growth of the industry.

1931: Under a new Labor government, Premier Jack Lang legalised greyhound racing. The politician referred to the sport as “working man’s racehorse”.

1932: Greyhound racing began at Wentworth Park.

1932: Royal Commission into both greyhound racing and fruit machines implicated Swindell and a minister in the Lang government. Swindell was found guilty but was reported to have escaped on an oil tanker on Port Phillip Bay and was never seen again.

1939: NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners & Trainers Association was founded. More tracks began to opened state-wide.

1979: “Coursing and other similar activities” prohibited in NSW were made illegal in Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. This included live baiting.

1985: Completion of new grandstand at Wentworth Park.

1987: Last greyhounds were raced at Harold Park and operations moved to Wentworth Park.

2009: Greyhound Racing Act 2009 made provisions with respect to the control and regulation of greyhound racing. Greyhound Racing NSW became responsible for the regulatory affairs of the sport.

February 2015: ABC Four Corners report revealed endemic use of illegal live baiting in the industry.

May 2015: NSW Government launched a Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW.

July 2016: Premier Mike Baird announces greyhound racing ban, commencing July 2017.

with Emily Smith

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