ORANGE resident and Bathurst Greyhound Racing Club track manager Jason Lyne expressed shock and disappointment on Thursday as the legislation to end greyhound racing in NSW moved swiftly through the NSW Parliament upper house.
The NSW Government introduced the legislation to NSW Parliament’s lower house on Thursday morning after it was fast-tracked through the upper house on Wednesday night.
It might take up to a fortnight before the legislation is voted on in the lower house, but the NSW Coalition is certain to have the numbers.
“I’m back to where I was on day one: heartbroken and shattered,” Mr Lyne said on Thursday.
“I’m mentally drained and mentally exhausted, but I have to stay strong for all the participants.
“We have only got hope and not much hope.”
The NSW Coalition’s contentious decision to ban greyhound racing in NSW was announced on July 7 after a report from a Special Commission of Inquiry into the greyhound industry was handed down.
Premier Mike Baird cited “widespread illegal and unconscionable activity, including the slaughtering of tens of thousands of dogs”.
He said the NSW Government could not stand by “and allow the widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals”, but his decision to shut the entire industry has been criticised as punishing the innocent majority for the sins of a minority.
Mr Lyne said members of families who had been involved in the industry for three to four generations had been trialling at the local track on Thursday and some had been in tears.
“They were saying ‘what do we do', ‘where do we go’, ‘how are we going to survive’, ‘what happens to our dogs’,” he said.
Mr Lyne – who has spearheaded the Bathurst track for three-and-a-half years – said the industry had no choice but to continue to fight.
“A lot of people have been here for a long time,” he said.
“For them to get other jobs, casual jobs, would be all but impossible, I would say.”
Labor's Peter Primrose said the opposition was given a copy of the legislation just 10 minutes before parliamentary proceedings commenced on Wednesday.
Attempts in the upper house to introduce amendments to the legislation guaranteeing compensation for the greyhound industry and putting restrictions on public land previously used for racing were rejected.