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Answers to your questions about the dispute between GRNSW and The Society

Updated: Dec 10, 2019

What’s the story?

By GRNSW’s own documents the Society’s registration to race greyhounds expired on 31 October. The Society was left with no choice after a breakdown of 12 months of negotiations but to announce the cessation of racing on the 6th November. The Society could not continue to race without a racing registration or appropriate insurance. After that announcement, GRNSW then purported to renew the Society’s registration and appoint an administrator.

Did we want to cancel the dogs?

No, the Society has been attempting to negotiate with GRNSW for the continuation of greyhound racing and new racing infrastructure for over 12 months. The board however must act in the best interest of the Society and its objects for the benefit of the community, not just greyhound racing operations. The board was hopeful that a mutual negotiation could be reached however this proved unsuccessful. The Society could not continue with the dogs on unacceptable terms and at the expense of all other activities.

Are we killing the dogs to make room for cafes?

No. The Society approached GRNSW with plans for a redevelopment of the showground that included a brand new, state of the art greyhound track, kennels and training facilities. The Society has always considered all options in the best interests of objectives of the Society, and the benefit of the community. The Dapto Dogs have never been the only community group who uses the showgrounds. The showground is also home to local the Dapto Rugby League Football Club, Dapto Markets, Aussie Night Markets, Poultry & Pigeon Clubs, Illawarra Cancer Carers and the annual Dapto Show to name a few.

The board has over the past two years been working on an innovative strategic plan and exciting vision for the future, to meet the growing needs of the Dapto community. The showgrounds are currently underutilised, so yes, the Society would like to expand its offerings. The Board of the Society will remain socially responsible and the final decisions regarding the future of the showgrounds will be made after consultation with the greater Dapto community.

Are we hiding financial information from GRNSW?

There’s a rumour going around that we haven’t made full disclosure of our accounts with GRNSW. The answer is no, we are not hiding financial information from GRNSW. The Society has provided audited financials every year to GRNSW. Every request received from GRNSW has been promptly responded to by our accountant in writing. All of the Society’s financial accounts are processed offsite by an external bookkeeper. All accounts and records are and remain available at the accountants. The administrator was informed of this.

Are the Society’s computers and records missing?

No. The Society’s computers and records have at all times been in the possession and control of the Society or its accountants and their location known. The suggestion that they have been improperly removed is wrong.

Do we agree with the appointment of an administrator to review the actions of the Dapto Agricultural & Horticultural Society?

No. We have challenged the appointment in Court. The Supreme Court has held that there is a serious question to be tried that the appointment of the administrator was invalid and there will be a Court hearing to determine the issue early next year.

Are we selling off land for development?

No. The majority of the Society's land is zoned private recreation, therefore cannot be used for any other purpose. Any finalisation of the draft master plan will be in the best interests of the community following consultation.

Where is the community consultation regarding the showgrounds?

That is next on the agenda. We will not be making any fundamental decisions about the future of the Showgrounds without community consultation. Some of the land was gifted to the Society in the late 1800’s and today it remains a vital community asset where thousands of people enjoy regular night markets, football and other functions and events. We have already started preparing to register your views on its future. We’ll let you know as soon as we are set-up to consult with the community.

Were GRNSW blindsided by our plans?

The Society refutes that GRNSW was blindsided – negotiations have been well documented for approx. 12 months. Architectural plans of the draft masterplan, new greyhound track and a kennelling facility were sent to GRNSW in February this year.

GRNSW attempted to take the Thursday night timeslot off Dapto in May 2019 and also reduced the prestige of the brand through a flattening of the prize money structure in July 2019. The Board became increasingly concerned about GRNSW’s intentions and lack of commitment to Dapto and after their repeated refusal to negotiate on terms in the agreement that was not in the best interests of the Society overall, the board began to review alternate uses for the space, as a backup plan, in the event that negotiations with GRNSW didn’t progress. This was a responsible step from the board given the uncertainty that surrounds the industry and GRNSW’s own strategic plan that indicates that there needs to be a reduction in the number of greyhound racing clubs in NSW.

Who is on the board?

The board are a mix of local professionals, with varying skills and experience, some within the greyhound racing industry. No board member has acted improperly, and they have shown good governance practices and an ability to fulfil their fiduciary responsibilities.

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