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NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro commits to Queanbeyan greyhound track this year

NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro has committed to bringing greyhound racing to Queanbeyan at a brand new facility by the end of the year.

However while many have welcomed the proposal to provide a new home to Canberra's soon-to-be banned greyhound trainers, some in the racing community have questioned the deputy premier's timeline.

Greyhound racing could return to Queanbeyan if Deputy Premier John Barilaro's plan is successful. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Commenting after a meeting with some of the stakeholders from Canberra and NSW, Barilaro said he saw the possible facility as "a premium precinct for racing".

The current plan proposed by Barilaro would see a greyhound racing track co-located with the Queanbeyan Race Club on McCrae Street.

Mr Barilaro said a straight line track would be considered for Queanbeyan to boost animal welfare.
Mr Barilaro said a straight line track would be considered for Queanbeyan to boost animal welfare. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

He said the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club had decided it did not have a future in the capital. Barilaro is facilitating meetings between the ACT club and Greyhound Racing NSW chairman Morris Iemma with the goal of securing a licence to continue racing in Goulburn in the interim.

"Building the training facility at the racecourse is our focus and we need to get that done this financial year," Barilaro said.

"In that time we'll get the business case and feasibility study done for the greyhound race track at the race club.

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"I would say by the end of the year that you have a race track built and ready to go.

"That's the goal, that has to be it."

While Queanbeyan Race Club administrator Brendan Comyn said he saw many positives in bringing greyhound racing back to Queanbeyan, he was less confident a facility could be built this year.

"You would have to start work tomorrow to make it happen, there's no time to waste really if it was to be up and running by the first of January," Comyn said.

He did say the race club provided a suitable site for a greyhound track considering there was usable land available that could be better utilised by welcoming the greyhounds back.

"It would be a terrible thing from the point of view of the greyhound industry if all of the trainers currently in Canberra were effectively put out of business," he said.

Ultimately the decision whether to expand the Queanbeyan Race Club would sit with Racing NSW, Comyn said.

It is understood Racing NSW have not received any official proposals to build a greyhound racetrack in Queanbeyan.

Although Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys said it was something the organisation would seriously consider.

"We have a high regard for the deputy premier and we'd certainly look closely at anything he wants to put forward," V'landys said.

It was reported in December that, should a facility go ahead at the Queanbeyan Race Club, a straight line track could be considered which would be the first of its kind.

Straight tracks are believed to be better for animal welfare as the dogs don't run around corners and it could alleviate injuries.

Barilaro said a greyhound track in Queanbeyan would be a huge boost for the town and the Queanbeyan Race Club.

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SYDNEY MORNING HERALD

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