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Greyhound Racing NSW boss resigns same day as report alleging ‘significant issues’ released then withdrawn

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Greyhound Racing NSW head Rob Macauley resigned from his position on Tuesday.

It came on the same day as a report into the industry was released publicly before being withdrawn.

Racing Minister David Harris said the report alleges “significant issues” within greyhound racing in NSW that will require “careful scrutiny”.

The head of NSW greyhound racing industry’s governing body has resigned as the minister responsible for the sport says there are allegations of “significant issues” that “require careful scrutiny”.

Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) CEO Rob Macaulay quit his post on Tuesday with his deputy Wayne Billett to become acting CEO.

The resignation came on the same day as a “handover report” written by the former GRNSW chief veterinary officer Alex Brittan was briefly publicly released by the NSW Parliament before being declared “privileged” and its contents quickly withdrawn.

Gaming and Racing Minister David Harris said matters relating to the management of GRNSW are the responsibility of its board but he wanted to ensure the industry had “the highest standards of animal welfare and integrity”.

“On Tuesday 18 June I became aware of a ‘handover report to GRNSW’ authored by a former chief veterinary officer of Greyhound Racing NSW,” he said in a statement.

“I requested a copy of the report from Greyhound Racing NSW. The report alleges significant issues within greyhound racing in NSW, which will require careful scrutiny.”

Indigenous Affairs minister David Harris wearing a dark suit and blue shirt

Gaming and Racing Minister David Harris said he wanted a “responsible and sustainable” greyhound racing industry.(Supplied: Department of Indigenous Affairs)

The minister said he had immediately referred the report to appropriate integrity and enforcement bodies and had written to the GRNSW board asking it to “show cause as to why its members should not be stood down from their positions”.

He said board members have until this Friday to respond, and he “would have more to say on these issues” in the coming days.

“It is important that the industry meets the highest standards of animal welfare and that concerns raised about important matters are appropriately addressed,” he said.

“As minister for gaming and racing, I am committed to supporting a competitive, responsible and sustainable greyhound racing industry, with the highest standards of animal welfare and integrity.

“The NSW government will continue to work with Greyhound Racing NSW and greyhound racing participants to ensure the viability and longevity of the industry in NSW.”

Greyhounds racing.

The report alleged “significant issues” within NSW greyhound racing, the minister said.(Greyhound racing, Michoff, CC License)

The Greyhound Racing NSW board said Mr Macaulay’s decision to resign was one he felt was “best for the industry at this time”.

“Mr Macaulay helped reform the organisation, and the industry’s culture, during his tenure,” it said in a statement.

“He oversaw the industry’s rehoming program, along with new welfare and safety initiatives.”

Independent regulator the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission (GWIC) declined to comment on the developments at Greyhound Racing NSW or Dr Brittan’s report.

Document privilege ‘bizarre and out of the ordinary’

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst, who sought documents including Dr Brittan’s report through the parliament, told the ABC it was an “absurd turn of events”.

“This is very bizarre and out of the ordinary — a total departure from proper parliamentary processes,” she said. 

“It’s clear the industry is completely panicked about the allegations in this report, and it’s easy to see why.

“This is a very usual position to be in, information has already made its way into the media and yet now we’re all being stopped from being able to talk about the contents of the report when it’s already out there.”

Emma Hurst with blonde hair wearing black holding a dark greyhound

Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst claimed the industry is “panicked” about the report.(Supplied: Facebook)

Ms Hurst joined The Greens in calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the “disturbing revelations” contained in the veterinary report.

“The CEO of Greyhound Racing NSW is gone, following the release of a damning veterinary report by the former chief vet of Greyhound Racing NSW,” the MP said.

“The Labor government can’t ignore sustained issues within the greyhound racing industry any longer, clearly an urgent investigation and upper house inquiry is needed,” she said.

Woman with long brown hair wearing a green top, sitting outside in a garden.

Greens MP Abigail Boyd called for an “urgent inquiry” into the greyhound racing industry.(ABC News: Kathryn Diss)

Greens MP Abigail Boyd backed that call and described Mr Macauley’s resignation as “both overdue and insufficient”.

“The greyhound racing industry is incapable of reform, and the NSW Greens are calling for it to be shut down,” she said. 

“This is an industry that just hasn’t changed, and this is a pretty significant moment.

“We need an urgent inquiry now into what exactly has been going on, and I can’t see how this industry can keep going.”

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