GREYHOUND racing will be banned in NSW from July next year after the Baird Government passed legislation in the early hours of the morning to make good its threat.
The vote on the floor of parliament shortly before 3am confirms what local breeders, trainers and punters have feared for the past month.
Three Nationals MPs – Kevin Humphries (Barton), Katrina Hodgkinson (Cootamundra) and Chris Gulaptis (Clarence) – crossed the floor to vote against the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 which passed through the parliament 48 votes to 35.
Bathurst MP Paul Toole, who had previously indicated he would consider abstaining fronm the vote, voted with the government to enforce the ban.
Premier Mike Baird, who has led the government campaign to ban greyhound racing, welcomed the decision.
“I am pleased the Parliament has strongly supported the Government’s decision, because it is the right one, even though it has been a difficult one,” Mr Baird said.
“The Bill is the direct consequence of the Special Commission, which found compelling evidence of systemic animal cruelty in greyhound racing and concluded there was a culture of cover-up that gave no comfort to those who hoped it could be reformed.
“This Bill was eminently worthy of bipartisan support, but the Leader of the Opposition has chosen the path of opportunism over principle – something he will need to explain to the voters of NSW, if his colleagues give him the chance.”
Opposition leader Luke Foley said the ban would break the hearts of “thousands of good men and women across the state”.
“Let’s throw the book at the bad people in the industry with life bans and prison sentences for those found guilty of animal cruelty but let’s not destroy an entire industry and way of life,” Mr Foley said.
“Regional and rural NSW has been let down by a National Party which has done little more than act as a lickspittle for a North Shore Liberal premier.”