Liberals, Belco Party having a bet each way on cruel and exploitative greyhound racing industry

Australian Greens

The ACT Greens have today called on the Canberra Liberals to give Canberrans an honest answer on whether they intend to bring greyhound racing back to the ACT.

Overnight, a Canberra Liberals spokeswoman reportedly refused to confirm the party’s position on this issue.

Yet in May 2018, mere weeks after the ACT’s ban on greyhound racing came into effect, Mark Parton reportedly made clear the Canberra Liberals position that, “if we win in 2020 we will overturn all of the anti-greyhound legislation, that’s the ban and the ridiculous fees and charges that are being imposed on these people who have never done anything wrong… Under a Liberal government we go back to the status quo and what happens in every other jurisdiction in Australia.”

The Greens are proud that ACT remains the first Australian jurisdiction to have banned the cruel and outdated greyhound racing industry, with the last race occurring on 29 April 2018.

The ACT greyhound industry had long made claims of ‘an unblemished animal welfare and integrity record’ which were found to be inconsistent with a number of reports into the industry, including the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club’s own data on dog deaths and injuries.

The Greens committed to a ban on greyhound racing at the 2016 election. The Greens-Labor Parliamentary Agreement negotiated in 2016 played a key part in ending the $1 million annual taxpayer subsidy to the greyhound industry in Canberra, and for now, has put an end to the industry in the ACT altogether.

Transition support packages and free counselling were available for people exiting the industry, and greyhound rescue and support was provided.

Since then, references to anything ‘greyhound’-related have been scrubbed from the Canberra Liberals website (see here, here, here, and here, as examples).

Bill Stefaniak of the Belco Party is also reportedly keen on reversing the greyhound ban, recently describing it as “a great pastime for good old working class Australians.”

As stated by ACT Greens leader Shane Rattenbury:

“It’s really a question of trust. Canberrans deserve to know whether the Canberra Liberals intend to bring back the exploitative and expensive greyhound racing industry to Canberra.

“Years after battling against the ban, the Liberals now say that bringing back the industry is ‘no longer a priority’ – despite Mark Parton’s repeated promises to bring dog racing back to our city.

“This week the Canberra Liberals also promised huge sums to the racing lobby, without so much as a public statement to let Canberrans know how they intend the industry to spend some ten million dollars worth of public funds over the next four years.

“The Liberals need to come clean and be upfront with the Canberra community, on their policy positions for these industries. While the public position is to try and ignore the issue by saying it is ‘not a priority’, I am pretty sure that is not what Mark Parton is telling people behind the scenes.”

As stated by Jo Clay, ACT Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson and candidate for Ginninderra:

“Dog deaths and injuries are inescapable realities of greyhound racing.

“The Greens are proud to have secured an end to the cruel and exploitative greyhound racing industry. But we can’t be complacent about this success.

“As with many progressive reforms, the Greens can be trusted to defend the greyhound racing ban against a vocal minority – in step with our Canberra community.”

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