The NSW Government is facing criticism for financially supporting the domestic greyhound racing industry 2 years after attempting to ban the sport.
Paul Toole, the NSW Racing Minister, has announced a $500,000 cash injection to help fund the world’s most expensive dog race in Sydney later in the year.
Staged in October at Wentworth Park, the “Million Dollar Chase” is set to be a high profile racing event featuring the state’s best hounds.
The public money is set to be used to help fund the prize pool for the race winner, a move which has drawn criticism across the bench Opposition Leader Luke Foley. Mr Foley described the cash injection as a “very expensive sorry note”.
Mr Toole has said the money would be drawn from the Community Development Fund – which is comprised of unclaimed gaming cash. The last time the fund was used was to repair war memorials.
There are set to be several semi-finals prior to the big race at Wentworth Park which will be held in regional racing centres.
Mr Toole said that the races would bring an economic boost to regional communities. He cited that large crowds were attending the events and that they would help the local economies of small regional towns.
Tony Mestrov, the NSW CEO of Greyhound Racing said that all the dogs that compete in the race would need to be kept as pets or re-homed. If the dog that wins the prize pool is killed, the owner must pay back the $1 million.
Mr Foley has dismissed the money as the government attempting to apologise for trying to ban the industry outright, citing animal abuse as the cause.
In 2015 it was revealed that some greyhound owners were secretly using live bait to “blood” their greyhounds. Following public outrage, then NSW Premier Mike Baird banned the sport outright before flipping on the decision later.