GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 03/04/2020

GRNSW CEO UPDATE - 03/04/2020

03/04/2020
GRNSW News

With the constantly developing issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Greyhound Racing NSW believes it is crucial to keep all participants up to date on all news involving the industry.

As such, we are encouraging all participants with questions pertaining to the COVID-19 situation, to email us here at GRNSW.

Each day I will do my best to answer questions from participants and publish them across our website and social media platforms.

If you have any questions, please email them to the following address: update@grnsw.com.au

Any important developments will also be published in media releases across our GRNSW network as required.

Here’s what our teams at GRNSW are being asked right now, with the responding answers (and please keep in mind that this is both an unprecedented and fast-moving situation).

1. Q: Tony, I appreciate all the hard work everyone is doing, but I don’t think it’s fair that some zones have more tracks and more opportunities for people to race. Can’t this be evened up?

A: We have done everything we have done for a reason, and the time for these discussions has ended. We have strict zoning in place, and it was done to limit travel, and to follow government directives. I need to remind all participants that this is an emergency survival plan that we have put in place for short term for the health and safety of people, which allows us, for the time being, to be able to race. As I said this sort of discussion must end.

2. Q: Tony a friend of mine is struggling a bit on his own in isolation and my wife suggested a greyhound would be the perfect company for him. I wanted to check what was happening with Greyhounds As Pets?

A: Thank you for your message and thinking about your friend. We all need to think about and reach out on the phone to all our neighbours, relatives and friends, to make sure everyone is Ok. We have found there has been an increased interest in adoption and fostering of greyhounds at this time, but the message is that Greyhounds As Pets are still operating. Of course now everything must be done by appointment, but I suggest you hop online and go to www.gapnsw.com.au and there you will be able to see the dogs we have available, apply online, or you can just email GAP with any questions you have. We have some wonderful people there who will be able to help you and your friend out.

3. Q: Hi Tony, everyone seems to doing well and the right thing with social distancing on the way to the boxes and boxing the dogs, but you might have to remind people it’s not just there, it’s everywhere on track, and away from it.

A: Thank you for raising this. I cannot stress enough the importance of following the health advice issued by Government and NSW Health, and the protocols that we have put in place at race meetings. The continuance of racing in this current environment is dependent upon the industry following this advice. It’s time to take this seriously. There are people who are extremely ill, people who have died from this virus and if that’s not enough to get people to practice social distancing, increased hand washing and follow all the protocols put in place, then I don’t know what is. Doing well isn’t good enough, we have to be perfect.

4. Q: We are not racing at Wentworth Park for the moment and a return there may well be months off. Income streams have been decimated (TAB turnover) and belt tightening will come I’m sure. To that end, is greyhound racing still paying rent to the WP Trust for a facility which is not being used? Are they receiving any relief?

A: Thank you for your email. I have spoken with Steve Noyce the General Manager of the GBOTA, who has been very supportive throughout this current situation, and Steve informs me that the Trust have already provided meaningful assistance in relation to the payments they are contracted to make as part of their lease agreements. Steve added that once they get more information regarding the total financial impact of COVID 19 they will organise further meetings to discuss the total financial consequences. Steve said the Trust are extremely supportive and understanding of the enormous challenges facing our industry and the NSW GBOTA.

5. Q: I see that Racing Victoria have sliced prizemoney, Racing NSW have cut their prizemoney too, and I read that Western Australia has cut prizemoney by 20 per cent across all three codes of racing including greyhounds, stating that TAB turnover has plummeted by “at least 50 per cent”. Should we be bracing ourselves in this industry?

A: We have already made budget cuts, this week we have also had to make some staff redundant, and right now we are currently reviewing all contracts and payment agreements, and looking closely at our budgets. This is about us taking all responsible actions to keep the industry viable in firstly the short, and ultimately the long term. We are really doing our very best to support participants and to keep money circulating in the industry through prizemoney. There has been no reduction in NSW prizemoney paid for the races being run; there has been some prizemoney not available to the market because the relevant races have been cancelled or postponed. Our number one priority is the health and safety of every GRNSW member of staff, as well as all greyhound participants. GRNSW has gone to very great lengths to preserve what racing we can amidst the restriction of Public Health Orders, whilst maintaining at all times excellent safety. We remain agile to accommodate changes as and when they are required in this ever-changing scenario.

For everyone racing today and tonight, good luck and please follow all procedures at the racetrack, and stay safe.

To everyone, have a good weekend and a safe weekend, and don’t forget that anyone who may be struggling at the moment and wanting somebody to talk to, you can do something about that. If you do feel the need to talk to someone about your situation, please do not hesitate to call. You can speak with a qualified counsellor at any time by calling 1300 687 327.

Keep your questions coming, and everyone please keep yourselves and your families safe, and importantly be vigilant in these difficult times.

Tony Mestrov.