Strike To Halt Victorian Greyhound Racing

VICTORIAN greyhound racing will come to a standstill this Saturday as participants vote with their feet and follow through on strike action.

Adam Dobbin

30 June 2021

VICTORIAN greyhound racing will come to a standstill this Saturday as owners and trainers vote with their feet and follow through on proposed strike action.

Three race meetings were scheduled but with a mere 10 nominations received in total, The Meadows, Cranbourne and Ballarat programs are set to be abandoned.

The move – which will see participants’ leave north of $100,000 in prizemoney on the table – has been designed to deliver a stern message to Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) about participant dissatisfaction across a variety of issues.

Grievances around prizemoney, track maintenance, cross contamination and participant treatment are at the height of their concerns which has ultimately led to the strike action, driven by the Victorian Greyhound, Owners, Breeders & Trainers Association (GOBTA).

“The response to Saturday’s strike action shows participants as a collective are right behind our stance,” GOBTA’s Greg Doyle said.

“The level of support to this action is overwhelming and should demonstrate to GRV the discontent that’s out there which perhaps they didn’t quite realise until now.

“For the GOTBA we are all about continuing dialogue and delivering on what’s best for the industry because at the end of the day we all want to see the sport flourish.”

In the last 24 hours, discussions between GRV and the GOTBA have recommenced with Doyle buoyed by the spirit of those talks.

“Without going into detail we’ve had a conversation with (GRV CEO) Alan Clayton and while nothing has been resolved as yet the discussion was productive,” Doyle said.

“There seems a willingness to compromise on some issues and there’s a better understanding of each other’s positions on other matters.

“But at the end of the day you can talk and consult for as long as you like but ultimately it’s the actions you undertake that matters.

“And to now that’s what’s been lacking and why we have proceeded with Saturday’s action.”

Champion trainer Robert Britton has been in the front line of the campaign, declaring that the disconnect between participants and GRV has never been greater.

Britton has been involved in greyhound racing for more than 50 years and says he’s ‘never seen such frustration and anger among participants’.

“GRV sees its own administration as the core of the industry and looks upon participants as subjects to be managed rather than people who invest, take risks, do the right thing and ultimately work really hard,” he said.

“It’s really easy for administrators not to consult, not to really engage with input, not to take on board concerns, but this administration has taken it to the next level.”

A fortnight ago, GRV announced a $6 million injection in prizemoney for the 2021/22 racing season but the GOTBA argues that more needs to be done.

“Participant share of industry income was 53 per cent a few years back while last year it was 43 per cent despite surging revenue,” Britton said.

“And in that time our costs have continued to skyrocket.

“What the participants want is to be a true partner in the industry deriving a fixed percentage of what the sport generates.

“If the sport booms then participants share in that should be just the same as if it flounders.

“But it’s important that everyone understands this is not just about prizemoney. We want to see our clubs and tracks with better funding, plus a plan for track upgrades and infrastructure to ensure our tracks can maintain the highest possible standards for the dogs well into the future.”

In response to Saturday’s strike action, GRV CEO Alan Clayton said his organisation will continue discussions with participants.

“GRV is continually in discussion with the GOTBA in relation to issues raised by the organisation,” Clayton said.

“As to the racing program, nominations are currently still open for Saturday’s race meetings.”