THE Muswellbrook Greyhound Track will receive a multi-million dollar facility upgrade to reach TAB status, with a change in ownership from the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) to Greyhound Racing NSW.
Deputy Premier John Barilaro was joined by Greyhound Racing NSW CEO Tony Mestrov, Treasurer Dominic Perrottet and Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson this morning at the Muswellbrook Greyhound Track for the announcement.
“We met with Muswellbrook Greyhound Racing Club a couple of weeks ago and they were talking about what it used to be like in the hay-day with prize money and they felt like they were being left behind without TAB status. We sat down with Greyhound Racing NSW because we gave them $30 million a few years back to upgrade tracks around the state and Muswellbrook was on their agenda,” Deputy Barilaro said.
“Muswellbrook are already renowned for breeding of dogs as the heartland for greyhounds . . . the multi-million dollar investment will bring the welfare standards up at the track, everything’s got to be done as per our new standards in looking after dogs,” he said.
Mr Barilaro addressed the elephant in the room, saying struggles faced by the greyhound industry after the 2016 shutdown are “our fault.”
“We made a mess of it five years ago. I think everyone knows of the welfare issues but governments shouldn’t be shutting things down, we should be working with industries to fix it. We then lost the seat of Orange at the by-election when we backflipped on that decision. Since then, we’ve been working quietly with the greyhound racing industry, you’ve got to earn trust again,” Mr Barilaro said.
“It’s taken five years to earn that trust and today is part of that $30 million that we set aside, it’s about giving the industry an opportunity,” he said.
The Muswellbrook Greyhound Club will host an additional six to eight TAB meetings a year and upgrades will include full track resurfacing with lure rail and three electric starting boxes.
“They have a chance to recover because a lot of pubs and clubs we’re closed due to Covid-19, a lot of poker machine gambling has stopped and a lot of people have started betting on horse racing and on greyhounds, so TAB revenue from gambling has increased,” said Deputy Barilaro.
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