Rob Katter: Greyhound racing ban repeats past mistakes
Rob Katter is the Member for Mt Isa for Katter's Australian Party.
I was astonished to see the LNP in NSW call an all-out ban on the sport of greyhound racing in the state, in what looks to be an exceptionally flawed, knee-jerk decision set to impact many thousands of individuals, businesses and animals.
The ramifications of shutting down an entire industry for the sake of political point scoring is a mirror image of the mistakes made by the Labor Government's ban on the export of live cattle in 2011.
The live cattle export ban acted as the catalyst for the downfall of the beef industry and many regional economies, and has led to an ongoing class action law suit against the federal government.
It was a decision which was similarly sparked by a Four Corners exposé on the unsavoury practices of a few.
Unfortunately during the process of industry deconstruction, a key question was not asked: will an all-out ban for the misbehaviour of a few, have the desired outcome?
I suggest that the closure of greyhound racing in NSW will not lead to greater preservation of animal welfare, and that the closure of the industry will far outweigh the negative impacts greyhound racing has had on the state of NSW to date.
Instead, history will repeat itself on a smaller scale in the same pattern of destruction Australia saw of 2011, in which we saw thousands of cattle put down because they simply could not be sold.
Responsible policy makers of the day need to think far beyond the squeaky wheels of the present and look to the ramifications that split decisions will have on the delicate economies of Australia.
There is simply no doubt that the greyhound racing closure was a decision made on the fly as the Special Commission's report into the sport was only released on 16 June 2016.
It was a report which did not recommend shutting down the NSW greyhound racing industry.
For a government to throw its hands up in the air without giving the community enough time to implement the changes and recommendations put forward is nothing short of negligence and political grandstanding.
This ban doesn't just illustrate the lack of thought in policy, it also accentuates the growing philosophical divide between the Liberal and National ideals.
In chorus with their federal counterparts, the NSW liberals have turned their back on those not included in society's elite.
While Queensland's own Racing Minister has guaranteed the continuation of the sport in our state, it is concerning to see the mistakes of the past play out again to no doubt have disastrous effects on the livelihoods of fellow Australians.
To disenfranchise owners, trainers, attendants, club workers, vets, hospitality workers and more, is simply a devastating outcome.
I can only hope Queensland and other governments will steer clear of similar political failure and look at the bigger picture before reacting to the cause of the day.