From Banning Greyhound Racing To Helping Fund The World's Richest Race

The announcement comes just weeks after the discovery of a greyhound mass grave.

Two years after announcing greyhound racing would be banned in New South Wales, the State’s Liberal-National Government has completed its backflip, today promising to fund the world’s richest race.

The ‘Million Dollar Chase’ is being spruiked as a chance to revive an industry that former Premier Mike Baird condemned as corrupt, criminal and cruel.

When announcing his ban in 2016, Mr Baird spoke of little prospect of rehabilitation. Fast-forward 754 days and $500,000 of tax-payer money from a Community Development Fund has been promised to support the new racing series.

Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi told TEN Eyewitness News the industry was still rife with cruelty and seven greyhounds had been killed and 91 injured on race tracks in the past fortnight. The RSPCA also uncovered a mass greyhound grave in Sydney’s west earlier this month.

Racing Minister Paul Toole, a member of the National Party -- which was unhappy with Premier Baird’s ban said it would bring considerable financial benefit to regional New South Wales.

Eleven qualifying events are scheduled in centres including Bathurst, Lismore, Wagga Wagga and Newcastle before a Saturday night showpiece event at Sydney’s Wentworth Park on the October 20.

“The Million Dollar Chase will demonstrate the importance of greyhound racing to regional NSW through its series of high-quality events for the whole community”, Mr Toole said.

The event would also benefit animal welfare and re-homing initiatives according to governing body Greyhound NSW. Entry fees, spectators tickets at Wentworth Park and the proceeds of a gala event would go toward charity Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) NSW. Greyhounds NSW CEO Tony Mestrov said the aim is to raise one million dollars.

Breeders intending to enter the series would also need make an undertaking they would re-home the dogs once they retired from racing. This would include the winner of the ultimate $1 million, who would be required to refund the prize if they didn’t follow through.

But critics say if the government was serious about animal welfare the $500,000 would’ve been given directly to GAP NSW. There is also criticism about  the Government's funding priorities.

A group called ‘Stop Dog Racing Australia’ has already started a Facebook event planning to protest the final race of the Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park.