Greyhound racing ban would deny ACT community groups vital fundraising cash
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Greyhound racing ban would deny ACT community groups vital fundraising cash

Canberra community groups would lose thousands of dollars in fundraising money if the ACT government banned greyhound racing.

The Canberra Greyhound Club estimates it has donated more than $60,000 to individuals or organisations over the last three years, and tens of thousands more to dozens of others in its 37-year history.

Canberra Greyhound Club says it has donated more than $60,000 to individuals or organisations over the last three years alone.

Canberra Greyhound Club says it has donated more than $60,000 to individuals or organisations over the last three years alone.Credit:Melissa Adams

Club spokesman Kel Watt said members took their role as a community organisation "very, very seriously".

"They probably reflect the broader community, in that if you belong to one organisation or one community group you tend to belong to many.

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"They've got kids in different schools. husbands and wives at lots of different charities. They take their role as a community organisation very, very seriously and their responsibility to help fundraise."

The greyhound club raises money by getting people or groups to sponsor races, as well as holding barbecues or trivia nights.

Mr Watt said the club also rented its function and track facilities to charities and other organisations free of charge, for example, for the annual Ability Cycle Challenge run by Hartley Lifecare.

It once raised more than $30,000 for a disability-equipped car for Ricky Small, who became a paraplegic in a mining accident, he said.

One of the beneficiaries of the club's fundraising more recently has been the Parents & Citizens Association at Black Mountain School.

The specialist secondary school for students with an intellectual disability has recently invested in a new "social enterprise" cafe, where students will learn to make coffee before it opens to the public.

The greyhound club has contributed more than $7000 to the P&C, one of several groups contributing to the establishment of the cafe.

While conscious of concerns about gambling and animal cruelty in the greyhound industry, Dawn Bowra, president of the P&C, said community partnerships – including with the club – were valuable.

She said the school lacks "a lot of exposure and community", because visiting the school can be confronting for some people.

"We don't have a lot of people come to us. We've got to go to the community," she said, adding that one way was through the club.

She said parents were often too busy working or being full time carers for their children to raise money. That together with heavy competition for fundraising opportunities in Canberra made raising money difficult.

The arrangement with the club came about through a teacher at the school, who is also a member of the greyhound club, Ms Bowra said.

Mr Watt said it was "unexpected" that the ACT government would make a decision to ban greyhound racing without considering all the consequences, including ongoing support of community groups.

"That would be one of the really horrible tragedies to really come out of this, for the ACT government to really be jumping at shadows and blindly follow a decision by the NSW government without considering the local evidence," Mr Watt said.

Alexandra Back is a reporter with The Canberra Times

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