This petition has been set up by the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds. Since the live baiting scandal in 2015, greyhound racing has been thrown into the spotlight. What Victorians have learnt is that this is a gambling industry that is based on abhorrent animal cruelty and criminal behaviour. In his 2015 inquiry into live baiting, Victorian racing integrity commissioner Sal Perna acknowledged that live baiting was ingrained into the culture of greyhound racing. It is undoubtedly still happening now.
During 2017 alone, there have already been 15 deaths on the tracks and 694 injuries on the track. The 2014–15 Greyhound Racing Victoria annual report indicated that 3012 dogs were killed in that year in the Victorian industry — that is eight dogs dying every day.
Two-time winner of trainer of the year, Jason Formosa, was disqualified for animal cruelty, yet allowed to keep his award.
Particularly concerning is the joint funding package worth over $126 000 in the form of an Easter school holidays kids program being held at 10 racing venues across Victoria and hosted by Greyhound Racing Victoria. In essence, this program is promoting gambling to children. It is also promoting exposure of animal harm and animal cruelty to children. Consider the fact that out of 231 race meetings in Victoria, in the first 10 weeks of 2017, only 11 were free from injury or death.
Data indicate that gambling industries do not create 'new jobs'. Rather, they simply divert employment from other sectors and they do not create new wealth either. Rather, they transfer wealth from poor to rich. Moreover, gambling likely reduces economic activity by diverting gamblers away from productive labour.
The impact of problem gambling in Australia is huge, and it is not confined to poker machines. According to the Productivity Commission, as many as 170 000 Australian adults face significant gambling problems and a further 350 000 are vulnerable. Of concern, for every addicted gambler there are 10 more people who are seriously affected. This includes families, friends and employers. And if that is not bad enough, according to the commission, 60 per cent of problem gamblers who have sought counselling have spoken of suicide. As many as 400 suicides each year can be attributed to addictive gambling.
Greyhound racing is a cruel and corrupt gambling industry. It is an industry which exploits and abuses animals and contributes to problem gambling destroying the lives of individuals and families.
The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Council ask the Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, to step down for his irresponsible promotion of a gambling industry to children, and call on the Victorian government to implement a phase-out to an eventual shutdown of the greyhound racing industry in Victoria.
By Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) (712 signatures).
Laid on table.