MEMBERS of Wagga’s greyhound industry will take the extraordinary step of travelling to Orange to campaign against the Nationals in the state by-election.
It comes amid speculation the November election will be a litmus test for the future of the controversial ban, with Member for Wagga Daryl Maguire refusing to rule out the possibility of the prohibition deadline being extended until 2020.
Leaked polling by Labor shows the Nats are facing a battle in the conservative seat, with predictions of a 15 per cent swing against them.
In July, Premier Mike Baird unveiled a plan to ban greyhound racing in NSW by mid-2017, citing evidence of widespread cruelty and live-baiting in the sport.
But members of the industry have repeatedly refuted these claims, pleading for the proposed ban to be overturned on the basis that it will devastate regional communities.
Wagga greyhound racing manager John Patton said the anti-Nats campaign will be mounted at Orange’s National Field Days.
A bus carrying at least 10 members of Wagga’s greyhound industry will travel to the event on October 20 where they will distrubute pamphlets and information about the Nationals’ support of the ban.
Mr Patton believed that if a Labor or independent candidate won Orange’s seat, then an extension of the ban date until 2020 was highly likely.
“Away from the courts, I think that is where as an industry we’ve got to win, we’ve got to win the Orange by-election,” Mr Patton said.
“We think if the Nationals don’t win the Orange by-election then there will be more pressure on the state government to overturn this decision.”
Greyhound trainer and owner Adam Oliver said the trip to Orange was a glimmer of hope for Wagga racing since a frustrating consultation meeting with Greyhounds Transition Taskforce Coordinator John Keniry.
“I think pretty well it could be our last chance to take a stand and try and voice our opinion to locals, and try and sway the vote the other way,” the president of Wagga and District Greyhound Racing Club said.
Mr Maguire said he would not speculate on whether Orange’s by-election would impact the ban, refusing to say if the ban date would be extended until 2020.
“We will see what happens,” Mr Maguire said.
“There is a lot of discussion happening with the industry at the moment, we will see what materialises.”