I rise today to speak against the motion moved by the Hon. Ms Franks to establish a select committee to investigate the greyhound racing industry in our state. Sport and recreation are central to the lives of many South Australians and participating in them is an expression of the freedoms which we treasure. Many depend on them for their income, whilst others marvel in awe at the physical feats of its participants whilst in the company of friends and family.
Behind the scenes, many volunteers and workers operate tirelessly for their communities through various sporting organisations to ensure that people are able to socialise and the community can be strengthened. Sport is very dear to my heart. Not only do my parliamentary secretary responsibilities cover recreation, sport and racing but I am also an active and proud supporter of these integral industries.
The South Australian greyhound industry has a proud and extensive history. From the many trainers right across the state who dedicate themselves to their dogs, the magnificent meetings where crowds gather in celebration and support of the sport, greyhound racing is truly a welcome part of our social fabric. It is of the utmost importance that recreation be conducted in a way that dignifies both humans and animals. What occurred in regard to live baiting and animal welfare in New South Wales was horrendous and action needed to be taken to ensure that best practice was pursued; however, what has subsequently been inflicted on the entire industry is nothing short of disappointing.
Governments should support sporting associations in their efforts of cracking down on those individuals who wish to bring their sport into disrepute through negative behaviour and practices. The role of government should not simply be to cast aside an entire industry for the actions of the few who do not act with the best interests of the sport in mind. Greyhound Racing South Australia is a responsible member of the South Australian sporting community and has proven itself more than capable of ensuring that it runs a safe, competitive and lawful sport within our state, and it should be further encouraged and supported in this endeavour.
This focus and commitment was redoubled after the Four Corners revelations of last year and is ongoing. Of particular note is that GRSA has invested heavily into the Greyhound Adoption Program so that dogs are well cared for. It is wonderful to know that many dogs are going through this process and are finding new homes with loving owners. GRSA has also undertaken to limit the breeding of greyhounds for racing. Whilst New South Wales has thousands of dogs being put down every year because they are unsuitable for racing, limitations in breeding have meant that the industry in South Australia does not find itself following a similar practice.
Additionally, GRSA has also appropriated half a million dollars annually towards integrity and welfare initiatives, furthering its ambition to promote and exercise best practice. These and many other initiatives mean that the South Australian industry has been able to insulate itself from the negative aspects of the industry in New South Wales. The industry should be given the time and space it requires to continue to be sustainable in a way that maintains community confidence and support. On past performance, I have every confidence that they will more than succeed in this endeavour.
All this motion seeks to do is to ban greyhound racing outright; it does not endeavour to properly improve the sport through a calm and considered process of reform. A select committee would be an inappropriate way of treating an industry that is constantly striving to improve itself. Instead, it will demonise and attack the very people who have dedicated their lives to following best practice in both raising and racing greyhounds. The New South Wales government's decision to ban greyhound racing in that state from 1 July next year will cause a great disruption for many who rely on the industry to support them financially, as well as affecting those who look forward to the many social opportunities which greyhound racing provides for them, their families and their communities.
The decision to ban has left many trainers shocked about the very sad reality that they will lose their livelihoods. There is also the problem of 19,000 greyhounds in New South Wales now looking for homes. I welcome minister Bignell's support for the greyhound industry and indication that the state government has no plans to follow the lead of the New South Wales government and ban the sport. It is a sport that brings in $50 million a year in activity to our economy and there are hundreds of people employed by it.
It is simply not right to close down a sound industry at a time when South Australia has an unacceptably high unemployment level and many people are crying out to be gainfully employed in a rewarding job. Apart from the monetary value, greyhound racing is a form of racing that is accessible to all and brings an immense amount of joy to many South Australians. That pleasure should not be taken away because some irresponsible participants of the sport interstate have acted in an appalling way.
I will leave my contribution there, but to summarise, I am extremely disappointed by the decision by the New South Wales government to ban greyhound racing and call on all members of the South Australian parliament to avoid acting in a similar manner by emphatically rejecting the call for a select committee on the greyhound industry in this state.