Greyhound racing and trialling in the ACT

Greyhound racing and trialling is now banned in the ACT. Greyhound racing is a competitive pursuit and includes trialling or training races, as well as racing in a test of speed of one or more racing greyhounds.

The maximum penalty if such activity is undertaken is 100 penalty units ($15,000), imprisonment for one year, or both. A zero tolerance approach will be taken to any greyhound racing in the ACT once the ban takes effect.

ACT residents exiting the industry can access support through a Transition Support Package, and free counselling is available to anyone affected by the end of greyhound racing in the ACT. For those choosing to remain in the industry and race interstate new rules and requirements will be in place.

Breeding, training and ownership of racing greyhounds will still be permitted in the Territory and will be monitored by the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate against a new mandatory Code of Practice, which will also come into effect from 30 April 2018.

Racing ban

Following the passage of the Domestic Animals (Racing Greyhounds) Amendment Act 2017 in November 2017, greyhound racing and trialling in the ACT was banned from 30 April 2018. From this date it is an offence to conduct, or facilitate the conduct of, a greyhound race or trial in the ACT or to allow a greyhound to take part in a greyhound race or trial in the ACT.

The Racing (Greyhounds) Amendments Act 2017 removed the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club Inc as a controlling body under the Racing Act 1999. The changes also include the removal of any reference to ACT-related greyhound racing within the Racing Act 1999, Race and Sports Bookmaking Act 2001, Totalisator Act 2014 and the Racing (Race Field Information) Regulation 2010.

These changes make it illegal to bet on a greyhound race held within the ACT. A range of other legislative obligations under the Animal Welfare Act 1992 and Domestic Animals Act 2000 also come into effect, which are outlined in more detail below.

Transition support

ACT residents exiting the industry can access support through a Transition Support Package. Those exiting the industry have until 30 June 2018 to apply for a Transition Support Package, and until 30 September 2018 to access transition support if they have been deemed eligible.

Transition Support Packages may include:

  • Training and re-skilling opportunities (for example, subsidised places in training programs)
  • Short term financial support – if you are employed in, or can show that you are significantly dependent on greyhound racing for income (and you can’t access a redundancy payment)
  • Business skills support (for example, subsidised assistance in business planning)
  • Specialist advice, guidance and planning about future career options
  • Financial counselling and planning services
  • No-interest loans to meet immediate individual needs
  • Micro-credit loans to re-direct existing small businesses, or support new small business ventures
  • Counselling to provide emotional support for anybody involved in the industry transition
  • Help to re-home greyhounds

The needs of each eligible applicant will be considered on an individual basis and, through consultation, a package will be developed to address their specific circumstances.

Transition Support Packages are being facilitated by Woden Community Service (WCS). If you would like to discuss options, see if you are eligible for transition support, access free counselling or seek further information you can contact either:

WCS case manager Hayden Page at hayden.page@wcs.org.au, (02) 6181 2895 or 0448 637 990.

Greyhound Industry Transition Taskforce at greyhoundtaskforce@act.gov.au or (02) 6207 7525.

Register for greyhound industry transition support by completing the online form.

Contact with the Taskforce and WCS is confidential.

Breeding, training and ownership of Greyhounds

Breeding, training and ownership of racing greyhounds will still be permitted in the Territory and will be monitored by the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate against a new mandatory Code of Practice, which will also come into effect from 30 April 2018.

Training

Racing greyhounds may continue to be trained in the ACT in a variety of circumstances provided the training does not include racing or trialling.

Some aspects of training such as the use of lures, timing of a dog running around a track, the presence of more than one dog running around a track and the use of starting boxes may be viewed as constituting racing in a competitive pursuit. These aspects of training will be closely scrutinised by authorised officers to ensure they are consistent with the legislation and do not constitute racing or trialling.

Ownership and registration

An owner of a racing greyhound will be required to apply for and obtain a renewable racing greyhound registration for that dog on an annual basis from the age of six months. They must also comply with a new mandatory Code of Practice for the Keeping and Breeding of Racing Greyhounds (Code of Practice).  Applications for registration can be directed to dogcontrol@act.gov.au

If an ACT based racing greyhound is going to be racing in NSW or other jurisdictions, the owner will need to meet ACT registration obligations in addition to any requirements imposed by a controlling body (such as Greyhound Racing NSW) in the jurisdiction they are racing in.

ACT registration does not entitle ACT racing greyhounds to enter races outside the ACT and is not part of or equivalent to the registration regime operated by controlling bodies across Australia. It is a special category of domestic animals registration specific to the ACT.

Licensing

A person who has control of one or more racing greyhounds (for training, handling or rearing purposes) will be required to obtain a racing greyhound controller licence. There is a legislated transition period of 6 months to enable sufficient time for this to take place. Applications for a licence can be directed to dogcontrol@act.gov.au

The racing greyhound controller licence entitles a person to keep or have day to day control of a racing greyhound. It is a category of special licence under the Domestic Animals Act. It does not replace a trainer’s licence or breeder’s licence issued by a controlling body.

Interstate racing

The ACT Government has committed that ownership, breeding and training of greyhounds in the ACT for racing outside the ACT will be able to continue on the basis that it is at no cost to the broader ACT community. The fees for registering a racing greyhound and obtaining a racing greyhound controller licence reflect this decision. These include:

  • a 12 month registration fee for a racing greyhound set at $612; and
  • an annual application fee for a greyhound racing controller licence at $640.

The following fees may also apply, consistent with the provisions of the Domestic Animals Act that apply to all dogs including racing greyhounds:

  • a licence is required if a keeper or carer of a female dog wishes to breed a litter from a dog. The fee for a breeding licence is $397.80 for a two year licence.
  • a multiple dog license is required for keeping of 4 or more dogs at a cost of $117.30 for the initial application and $32.70 to renew the licence annually.

The provision of a sexually entire permit for a racing greyhound is provided as part of the annual registration fee for a racing greyhound.

If an ACT based racing greyhound is going to be racing in NSW or other jurisdictions, the owner will need to meet ACT registration obligations in addition to any requirements imposed by a controlling body (such as Greyhound Racing NSW) in the jurisdiction they are racing in.

ACT registration does not entitle ACT racing greyhounds to enter races outside the ACT and is not part of or equivalent to the registration regime operated by controlling bodies across Australia. It is a special category of domestic animals registration specific to the ACT.

Background

On 28 November 2017, the Legislative Assembly passed new laws to expressly prohibit the racing and trialling of greyhounds in the ACT from 30 April 2018.

The Durkin report into transition options was released on 23 June 2017.

Domestic Animal Services within the Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate (TCCS) has responsibility for enforcing the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act and Domestic Animals Act including provisions related to racing greyhounds.

Access Canberra have the power to investigate a range of matters including unlawful racing and gambling activities.

ACT Policing have a role if access to premises is necessary to prevent the suspected commission of a criminal offence.

TCCS as well as Access Canberra inspectors will be working cooperatively to ensure compliance. These officers will regularly inspect activities being undertaken at the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club to ensure compliance with animal welfare and management requirements are met and no greyhound racing or trialling is being conducted.

More information

For more information about the cessation of greyhound racing in the ACT please read the industry factsheet:

For inquiries about registration, licensing and compliance and the Code of Practice, please contact Domestic Animal Services via Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

The application form for a Racing Greyhound Controller Licence can be found at:

The application form for Registering a Racing Greyhound can be found at:

Other application forms can be located on:

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