Government greyhound backflip windfall for Wagga Show Society

The Wagga Show Society’s finances have been bolstered by the government’s dishlicker debacle backdown. 

Last week Premier Mike Baird admitted he had made a colossal mistake by banning greyhound racing and declared the sport had one last chance to stamp out animal cruelty.

Wagga showgrounds is home to the Wagga and District Greyhound Club, which leases its race track, bar and kiosk.

Show society treasurer John Stewart said greyhound rent fees would take the sting out of rain-reduced Wagga Show gate takings, after persistent rain in early September forced orgainsers to slash ticket prices.

“We’re keeping our heads above water, even though we took a haircut with bad weather this year impacting our gate takings,” Mr Stewart said.

“Rain can’t be helped, we’ll survive, just like farmers and golf clubs do.

“News that the dogs will be long-term tenants is a definite boost for us.”

This year the show announced a tradition-breaking change of dates in hopes of stemming declining attendance numbers. 

Mr Stewart was wary of reports the government would close down race tracks and reduce the number of races across the state as part of its greyhound plans.

“We have a good track, so I'd hesitate to think they'd close such a well maintained facility with so much infrastructure,” he said.

The club was set to undergo a $230,000 track upgrade only days before the NSW government made the shock move and announced plans to ban the sport.

While the full upgrade was put on hold due to the sport’s uncertain future, a partial upgrade was still completed.

Show society president Bruce Ryan said the guaranteed rent revenue would cement infrastructure upgrades, including road repairs that start Monday.

“The greyhound revenue is not exorbitant but it helps us make minor improvements around the site,” Mr Ryan said.

The society will also profit from the rain delay holding back construction of a new harness racing track in Cartwright’s Hill. 

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