ACT government to help local greyhound owners 'transition' after NSW ban on racing
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ACT government to help local greyhound owners 'transition' after NSW ban on racing

The ACT government will turn its attention to helping greyhound trainers "transition", as a bill to ban the sport is rushed through the NSW Parliament.

A NSW ban – which would begin in July next year – would effectively spell the end of racing in the territory, because of how local trainers are licensed.

The ACT government plans to no longer support greyhound racing in the territory.

The ACT government plans to no longer support greyhound racing in the territory.Credit:Melissa Adams

The territory's greyhound trainers are regulated in NSW, so they would not have a licence to race if the neighbouring state's ban went ahead.

The NSW bill to ban greyhound racing passed through the state's upper house on Wednesday, after it was officially declared "urgent".

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The bill introduces an $11,000 dollar fine for anyone who organises a greyhound race in the state after the ban begins.

It also says compensation is not payable by the state.

The package will also include training programs to help those in the industry find new jobs, business advice and a specialised mental health service.

Debate on the bill in the lower house was adjourned to the end of August.

While the bill would effectively end racing in the ACT if passed, the ACT would still need to pass its own legislation formally ending greyhound racing, gaming and racing minister Mick Gentleman's office said.

Mr Gentleman said he would meet with the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club in the next couple of weeks to speak about the transition process.

The racing club will be hoping the ACT government considers other options.

But the government has already said it can no longer support greyhound racing, and Mr Gentleman said on Thursday he was "pretty confident" the sport would not continue in the ACT.

"We've been careful not to use the term 'ban' in the ACT," Mr Gentleman said, while acknowledging the impact of the NSW bill.

Mr Gentleman said the government was waiting for the results of a review into all three ACT racing codes, which he said would include recommendations on how to help the greyhound industry transition. "The Canberra community doesn't support greyhound racing in the territory," he said. "Our view is to do the review, look at the outcomes and the recommendations from that review, with a view to help [trainers] transition," Mr Gentleman said.

He said an existing memorandum of understanding between the government and the racing industry wasn't due to expire until next year.

And funding arrangements were still in place until then, he said.

The government currently gives $1 million a year to the greyhound industry.

But the club called on the government to "calmly consider facts and act fairly".

It said Queanbeyan MP Peter Phelps "failed the leadership test and let the community down" when he abstained from voting on the bill on Wednesday.

It continues to plug its "perfect record" of animal welfare over 37 years in existence, and said with details of the NSW legislation now known, it could "formulate and deliver" options for the future of racing in the ACT.

with AAP

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times

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