Latham Launches Scathing Assessment Of Draft Code

MARK Latham has launched a stinging critique of the draft NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice as the closing date for submissions fast approaches.

Adam Dobbin

11 April 2020

MARK Latham has launched a stinging critique of the draft NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice as the closing date for submissions and feedback fast approaches.

The draft code, a government instrument developed to “establish a single set of standards that will improve animal welfare, and in time ensure the sustainability and longevity of the industry for the future,” has been met with much apprehension throughout industry circles.

On Wednesday, passionate industry supporter Mark Latham issued a scathing assessment of the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) in his public submission on the Draft Code of Practice.

Any normal, intelligent person would read this (draft) document as a long-winded advertisement for the abolition of GWIC; many of its rules are confusing, unmeasurable and unenforceable,” declared the NSW One Nation leader.

“In most cases, GWIC has developed rules and regulations just for the sake of having rules and regulations. This is typical of a government body trying to justify its own existence, instead of acting purely in the best interests of the industry.

“It is time to call off this farce, and return sanity to the administration of greyhound racing in New South Wales.”

With public consultation closing next Tuesday (April 14), a final draft code will then be presented to the NSW Government for endorsement and implementation.

But with there being a widespread belief that overzealous rules and regulations have been designed within the Code to drive the industry out of existence, Latham has called on the Government to disband the industry regulator altogether.

“GWIC should be abolished under its 2020 statutory review and its Code of Practice should be binned,” Latham stated.

“The full administration of the sport should be returned to GRNSW. Working people should be allowed to get on with racing their animals – for hope, pride, fun and prize money, without feeling like they are part of a police state.

 “The NSW economy is tanking under the weight of the current health emergency. Unemployment is expected to reach double-digit levels. The last thing we need is a contracting greyhound industry as participants leave and jobs are lost due to over-policing.

 “Working people are going through enough without GWIC breathing down their neck with this draft Code of Practice.

“For most owners and trainers, greyhound care is straightforward. GWIC has turned it into a complicated, bureaucratic nightmare, underscored by the possibility of jail time.

“Some humanity is needed. Put people first and allow them to get on with the time-honoured pleasure of racing their dogs in NSW, freely and successfully.”

READ MARK LATHAM’S FULL SUBMISSION HERE

In a statement on Thursday, GWIC Chief Commissioner Alan Brown said: 

“While Mark Latham’s response to the draft Code of Practice is certainly within his right, I would like to place on public record the facts as they relate to the draft Code of Practice.

“It should be remembered that the need for a new code of practice was one of the principal recommendations of the Iemma Reform Panel accepted by the Government, and is set out in the Greyhound Racing Act, passed by Parliament.

“The Commission is simply facilitating the development of the new code, which it is legally required to do.

“The code is not GWIC’s code. It is a document that will ultimately be approved by the NSW Government, not the Commission.

“The draft code of practice that was circulated for everyone to comment on was developed by the Animal Welfare Committee comprising industry representatives including GRNSW.

“It is therefore a total red herring to assert, as some are doing, that the Commission is seeking to use the code to somehow force its will on the industry.”