2809. Hon Alison Xamon to the minister representing the Minister for Racing and Gaming:
(1) I refer to the Greyhound Racing Industry in Western Australia, and I ask:
(a) how many greyhounds were whelped in the following financial years:
(ii) 2016–17; and
(b) of the greyhounds whelped in each of the following financial years, how many of them went on to race:
(ii) 2014–15; and
(iv) 2016–17; and
(c) why are these numbers not reported in the Racing Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) Annual Report, as they are in most other greyhound racing jurisdictions?
(2) I refer to the Track Injury Surgery Rebate Scheme, and I ask:
(a) how many greyhounds have entered the program in each of the following financial years:
(i) 2017–18; and
(iii) 2019–20 year to date;
(b) how many of the greyhounds that entered this program were re-homed in each of the following financial years:
(i) 2017–18; and
(iii) 2019–20 year to date; and
(c) how many of the greyhounds that entered this program were killed in each of the following financial years:
(i) 2017–18; and
(iii) 2019–20 year to date?
(3) I refer to the amendments made in August 2019, to the Track Injury Surgery Rebate Scheme and the full recovery scheme, where the ownership of the greyhound was surrendered to Greyhounds as Pets (GAP) at the track, and I ask:
(a) how do dogs become eligible for this option;
(b) how are dogs selected for this option;
(c) what happens to dogs after they leave the track;
(d) if surgery is performed on the greyhound, what rehabilitation is conducted and where does that rehabilitation take place;
(e) how many greyhounds have been surrendered to GAP at the track since August 2019; and
(f) how many have of those greyhounds been rehomed;
(g) how many of those greyhounds have been euthanised?
(4) I refer to occasions where the on-track veterinarian directs that an injured greyhound is to be further examined by a veterinarian within 24 hours, and I ask:
(a) how does the RWWA monitor compliance with these directions;
(b) how does the RWWA ensure consistency in outcomes for greyhounds with similar injuries?
(5) I refer to greyhounds assessed by RWWA GAP as to their suitability for re-homing, and I ask:
(a) how many greyhounds have been assessed by RWWA GAP as to their suitability for re-homing in 2019–20 year to date;
(b) how many greyhounds that have been deemed by RWWA GAP as unsuitable for re-homing and been euthanised in 2019–20 year to date;
(c) how many greyhound that have been deemed by RWWA GAP as suitable for re-homing have been euthanised in 2019–20 year to date;
(d) are there any requirements for a greyhound deemed unsuitable for rehoming to be assessed again at a later date:
(i) if no to (5)(b), why not; and
(e) what is the RWWA follow up process for greyhounds who have failed this initial assessment, to ensure that they are not being un-necessarily killed?
(6) I refer to the June 2017 research by the University of Technology Sydney commissioned by Greyhound Racing NSW that found that greyhound racing injuries would be reduced by racing on straight tracks and limiting the number of dogs in each race to six, and I ask:
(a) why has the six greyhounds per race limit not yet been introduced to Western Australia; and
(b) does RWWA have any plans to introduce straight tracks at any of the greyhound racing venues in Western Australia:
(i) if no to (6)(b), why not?
(7) I refer to the positive amphetamine sample from greyhound Miss Bondi on 23 April 2019, and that her trainer was stood down on 9 August 2019, and received a two-year ban on 24 January 2020, and I ask:
(a) why did it take so long for action to be taken against her trainer;
(b) what is current status and future of Miss Bondi?
Hon Alannah MacTiernan replied:
(1) (a) (i) 2015–16; 478
(ii) 2016–17; 476
(iii) 2017–18; 433
(iv) 2018–19; 422
(b) (i) 2013–14; 68.2%
(ii) 2014–15; 64.9%
(iii) 2015–16; 73.9%
(iv) 2016–17; 72.7%
(c) The annual report represents a summary of information, further detail regarding the industry is included in the Racing Industry Status Reports, which are made publicly available via the RWWA website.
(2) (a) (i) 2017–18; 12
(ii) 2018–19; 9
(iii) 2019–20; 8 year to date
(b) (i) 2017–18; 9 retired for rehoming or breeding
(ii) 2018–19; 5 retired for rehoming
(iii) 2019–20 year to date; 6 retired for rehoming or breeding
(c) (i) 2017–18; 3 euthanised
(ii) 2018–19; 2 euthanised
(iii) 2019–20; 0 euthanised year to date
(3) (a) RWWA will commit to providing support to participants for injuries that:
(1) Occur in the course of a normal race meeting;
(2) Are defined under the schedule of eligible injuries; or
(3) Are considered by the oncourse veterinarian severe enough to warrant surgery and subsequent financial assistance from RWWA.
(b) In the event where a greyhound sustains a serious eligible track injury the policy has two pathways through which the greyhound Injury Recovery Scheme can be accessed, which is the decision of the owner/person in charge of the greyhound to decide which scheme they prefer to access.
Greyhound Injury Full Recovery Scheme – Sign the ownership of the greyhound over to RWWA’s Greyhounds as Pets (GAP) program where the injured greyhound will be transported to emergency care and all associated costs of surgery and rehabilitation will be covered by RWWA. If suitable, the greyhound will then be rehomed, following recovery, through GAP’s standard processes.
Greyhound Injury Surgery Rebate – Retain ownership of the greyhound and present the greyhound for veterinary assessment/surgery as per the veterinary advice received. The standard rebate process will then apply – RWWA will refund 80% of surgery costs and reasonable associated costs (e.g. bandaging, prescribed medication), up to $3,500 exclusive of GST per incident (unless GST registered).
(c) Incident Assessment – Following a significant racing injury to a greyhound, the on-track veterinarian, in the presence of a Steward where practicable, will provide advice to the representative of the greyhound (owner/trainer) as to the nature of the suspected injury within the limitations of the examination that can be performed at the time and likely outcomes as a result of veterinary intervention and the prospects for a sound recovery.
Upon the decision to transfer the greyhound’s ownership to RWWA’s GAP program, the greyhound will be stabilised for transport. The greyhound’s representative will complete and sign the GAP transfer form on behalf of the owner. The greyhound will then be transported by the on track veterinarian assistant to the RWWA nominated veterinary clinic.
(d) The details of each greyhounds rehabilitation process is determined by the consulting veterinarian at the RWWA nominated veterinary clinic which performed the surgery, and are advised to the relevant GAP/RWWA employees who administer the injury recovery scheme.
All greyhounds in rehabilitation phase may be housed for periods of time at either; the RWWA nominated veterinary clinic, a rehabilitation kennel facility, the Greyhounds as Pets kennel facility or within foster care, or a combination of all locations, as is appropriate to each individuals rehabilitation requirements.
(e) From 1 August 2019 to 29 February 2020 there have been 25 greyhounds admitted to the Greyhound Injury Full Recovery Scheme.
(f) From 1 August 2019 to 29 February 2020 6 greyhounds have been adopted following surgery and successful rehabilitation within the Greyhound Injury Full Recovery Scheme. As at 29 February 2020, 14 of the greyhounds that had entered the scheme were still in rehabilitation prior to progressing towards rehoming.
(g) From 1 August 2019 to 29 February 2020, 4 greyhounds have been euthanised following veterinary advice, due to surgical complications, and 1 greyhound died during surgery due to anaesthetic complication.
(4) (a) The Stewards will call the trainer the next day to ensure the direction has been followed and to request that the trainer submits a vet report as proof that the greyhound has been examined.
(b) Each greyhound is treated according to the instructions of the attending Veterinarian the greyhound is taken to, on a case by case basis.
(5) (a) From 1 August 2019 – 29 February 2020, 209 greyhounds have been assessed by GAP as to their suitability for rehoming.
(b) From 1 August 2019 – 29 February 2020, 10 greyhounds have been euthanised after being assessed by GAP as unsuitable for rehoming.
(c) From 1 August 2019 – 29 February 2020, no greyhounds have been euthanised for behavioural reasons after being deemed suitable for re-homing. Separate from those greyhounds in the care of GAP under the auspices of the Greyhound Injury Full Recovery Scheme for which the outcomes are addressed in (3)(e)–(g), 1 greyhound that was deemed suitable for rehoming has been euthanised for veterinary reasons and one greyhound was deceased during surgery due to anaesthetic complications.
(d) Greyhounds that do not pass the pre-assessment may be re-assessed at a later date. Where a greyhound does not pass the pre-assessment but is recommended for re-assessment the responsible person may choose to retain ownership of the greyhound as a pet; rehome the greyhound through another greyhound rehoming group or independently through a third party;or may return for re-assessment at GAP. Where a greyhound is recommended for re-assessment at a later date the greyhound may not be euthanised based on the initial assessment.
(i) Not applicable.
(e) The Rules of Greyhound Racing apply. I refer to Local Rule 106, parts 1–4 are included below.
LR106 Interpretation of R106(3) (added 1/9/15) (amended 1/1/17)
(1) In relation to GAR 106(3) it shall be a requirement that the last registered owner or person responsible for the greyhound at the relevant time shall notify Racing and Wagering Western Australia by lodging the prescribed form in accordance with GAR 106 (3)(a) or (b).
(2) The two working days notification requirement in GAR 106 (3)(b) for greyhounds that are humanely euthanised by a veterinary surgeon is extended to a period of 10 days.
(3) At any time after notification of the result of service pursuant to Rule 136, the last registered owner or person responsible for the greyhound at the relevant time, in addition to complying with GAR Rule 106 (3), shall ensure that the euthanasia of any greyhound must only be performed by a registered Veterinary Surgeon;
(a) on humane grounds where the greyhound is seriously ill or injured; or
(b) where a Veterinary surgeon has assessed the greyhound as being unsuitable for rehoming on medical or behavioural grounds;
(c) Where any greyhound has been euthanised by a Veterinary Surgeon, documentary evidence of compliance with sub-rule (3) to the satisfaction of the Stewards, must be lodged with the Controlling Body within ten days, in conjunction with the veterinary certificate of Euthanasia and the prescribed form.
(d) should sub-sections (a) or (b) not apply, every greyhound must be assessed by the Greyhounds As Pets (RWWA GAP) program and this assessment shall not occur within 14 days of a greyhounds last start in an event.
(4) Where RWWA GAP has assessed the greyhound as being suitable for re-homing, the last registered owner or person responsible for the greyhound at the relevant time must, to the satisfaction of the Stewards, seek to re-home the greyhound with the RWWA GAP program and at least one other rehoming provider.
(6) (a) RWWA maintains a vigilant and active approach to injury prevention and continues to monitor research findings and opinions throughout Australia and the world. All relevant research findings are considered in their theoretical and jurisdiction-research-based context. WA does not determine the introduction of 6 dog fields to be a mandated requirement for the reduction of injury at this point in time.
(b) Track assessment and performance continues to be apriority for WA greyhound racing and consideration will always be given to variable rack configurations into the future. There are currently no immediate plans to introduce a straight track to any of the greyhound venues in Western Australia.
(i) RWWA will assess best practice options and enhancements available to the current 3 track configurations (Mandurah, Cannington and Northam) if and when it determines appropriate and conclusive analysis supports such scoping and development.
(7) It is important to note that the integrity function of RWWA and decisions of the Racing Penalties Appeals Tribunal (RPAT) are independent of the Minister for Racing and Gaming.
(a) Acknowledging that the integrity functions of RWWA and the RPAT appeals process adheres to the requirements of natural justice and procedural fairness which dictate the timeframes by which a matter can be properly progressed before the Stewards at an inquiry. At all-times a person is entitled to a fair hearing and presumptions of innocence. I am advised by RWWA that a stewards inquiry must therefore be conducted in accordance with the expected principles which dictate the time it can take for more complex matters to be properly conducted. The Stewards are also obliged to give detailed reasons for any decisions given, which may be subject to review by appellant bodies. Accordingly this process requires sufficient time and due diligence to be constructed and finalised by the Stewards and RPAT.
In regard to the case of MISS BONDI I am advised that the following sequence of events outlines the circumstances relating to the duration of the inquiry and appeals process:
As Mr Westworth was represented by counsel, the availability of his counsel and experts called to the inquiry impacted the dates matters could be conducted. As did the provision of additional information requested by his counsel through the course of proceedings as outlined below.
Taking into account the technical and complex nature of the analytical evidence that came to be adduced and the need for procedural fairness and availabilities of the trainer’s counsel, this matter was conducted at a far higher level of expeditiousness than is routinely the case in any other legal proceedings before other bodies.
Some 123 pages of transcript and 18 exhibits, including extensive data packs from both laboratories and evidence from experts called on behalf of Mr Westworth came to be adduced. Accordingly, given the seriousness and complexity of this matter and the need for procedural fairness, there is nothing remarkable with respect to the time taken for the matter to properly and fairly be dealt with. In fact the time taken to conduct a fair and thorough investigation and inquiry was very efficient in the circumstances.
As the trainer’s licences were suspended in full upon notification of the detection of amphetamine in the sample, there was no prejudice to the industry due to the time taken to conduct the inquiry as Mr Westworth was unable to participate in the industry in any way.
The chronology of the matter as outlined below places into context that there was no unreasonable delays in the matter being properly conducted.
RWWA was first notified by the ChemCentre of the detection of amphetamine in the sample on 8 August 2019.
On 9 August 2019, RWWA Investigators attended the property of Mr Westworth without prior notice to commence an investigation into this report. All licences held by Mr Westworth were suspended pending outcome of the inquiry. Accordingly he was unable to participate in greyhound racing in any licensed capacity.
On 20 August 2019, Racing Analytical Services Laboratory (RASL – Victoria) notified RWWA that analysis of the “B-sample” had confirmed the presence of Amphetamine.
An inquiry was scheduled to commence on 9 September 2019.
On 6 September, application was made by counsel for Mr Westworth for the “underlying data used by analysists to produce findings”. Inquiry was thus adjourned to enable this information to be produced by both laboratories.
On 11 September 2019 RASL issued requested information.
On 18 September 2019 the ChemCentre issued requested information.
Due to availability of Mr Westworth’s counsel, the inquiry was not able to commence until 28 October 2019.
After considering the evidence heard at the inquiry, the Stewards issued charges on 7 November 2019.
The inquiry was resumed on 25 November 2019 when his counsel was available, where Mr Westworth pleaded not guilty to the charges, and through his counsel made submissions in support of such plea.
On 17 December 2019, Stewards issued their determination to find Mr Westworth guilty of breached RWWA Greyhound Rule of Racing 83(2)(a).
Due to the Christmas leave period, Mr Westworth was unable to consult his counsel with the inquiry to hear submissions on penalty not resuming until 22 January 2020.
On 24 January2020 Stewards issued their decision on penalty to disqualify Mr Westworth for a period of 2 years. MISS BONDI was also disqualified from the race in question with commensurate implications to all prize monies to apply.
On 29 January 2020 Mr Westworth lodged a notice of appeal with the Racing Penalties Appeal Tribunal (RPAT). He also made application for a stay of proceedings. The appeal was against severity of penalty.
On 29 January 2020, Stewards lodged submissions with RPAT objecting to the issue of a stay.
On 30 January 2020, the Stay application was refused. The appeal was heard on 12 March 2020, with RPAT reserving their decision.
(b) MISS BONDI was suspended from racing pending the outcome of the inquiry and is currently suspended from racing until such time as a clear urine sample is provided. The owner has indicated it is her intention to retire MISS BONDI from racing and register her for the purposes of breeding.