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NSW Labor releases greyhound survival plan

AAP logoAAP 31/07/2016 By Daniel McCulloch

A tough new watchdog would govern greyhound racing, with owners and trainers found live-baiting facing mandatory life bans and jail under a shake-up designed by NSW Labor to avoid the industry's demise.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley has unveiled the plan - which also includes separating the industry's commercial and regulatory arms - ahead of new laws to be brought before parliament to ban the sport.

"There is a path forward to clean up the industry and establish a regulatory body with a mandate for the highest standards of animal welfare," Mr Foley said on Sunday.

"Throw the book at those who do the wrong thing, clean up the industry, but look after the thousands of good men and women in it.

"Collective punishment - punishing the good for the sins of the few bad eggs - is not on in a democracy."

The reform package has been released as those who back greyhound racing prepare to rally in support of saving the industry, with key figures to march on the NSW Parliament on Tuesday to voice their displeasure about banning the sport.

Premier Mike Baird this month said he had no choice but to scrap the sport after an inquiry found up to 68,000 "uncompetitive" greyhounds had been slaughtered in the past 12 years and nearly one-in-five trainers used live animal baits.

A greyhound racing industry alliance including clubs from across the state on Friday mounted a legal challenge against the ban, which was based on the Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry.

Mr Foley said Mr Baird had stopped listening and was acting too hastily.

"I think in so many aspects of his governance now Mr Baird just thinks he always knows best, he won't listen to community concerns," he said.

Mr Baird hit back on Sunday, claiming his opponent last year told stakeholders behind closed doors that the industry should end.

"Instead he has chosen the path of politics over principle. History, and his own colleagues, will judge him on that basis," the premier said.

Deputy Premier Troy Grant said Mr Foley's legacy as opposition would be marked by his stance against the issue.

Meanwhile, Mr Foley renewed calls for Mr Grant's fellow National Party MPs to vote against the bill when it's tabled in parliament.

"We're up against it, no doubt. Unless National Party MPs join with Labor, greyhound industry will be outlawed in this state," he said.

Mr Foley said the premier's claims that greyhound racing had lost its "social licence" were dubious.

"The concept of a social licence is very imprecise and it's open to disputation, competing claims and counter-claims," he said.

"There's still a social licence for greyhound racing in country NSW."

Racing advocates presented a plan to the Premier's Office on Sunday detailing the industry's commitment to being viable into the future.

"The greyhound racing industry can be sustainable at the same time as meeting high standards of animal welfare," spokesman Brenton Scott said.

He said the industry had nearly halved its breeding numbers over the past year, and said it could produce even fewer animals while still balancing race requirements.

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