The Canberra Liberals have gone cold on a promise to overturn the territory’s greyhound racing ban, saying it would not be a priority for a Coe government.
The Liberals strongly opposed the Barr government’s decision to ban greyhound racing in the ACT, arguing the local industry had been unfairly targeted for the sport’s poor animal welfare record in NSW.
“If we win in 2020 we will overturn all of the anti-greyhound legislation, that’s the ban and the ridiculous fees and charges that are being imposed on these people who have never done anything wrong,” Mr Parton said, while attending Canberra Greyhound Racing Club’s first meeting in NSW after the territory’s ban came into effect.
“Under a Liberal government we go back to the status quo and what happens in every other jurisdiction in Australia.”
The opposition had barely mentioned greyhound racing in the past 18 months, but the issue was put back on the ACT election agenda on Wednesday after Greens leader Shane Rattenbury told ABC radio that the Liberals wanted to the sport to resume.
Asked to confirm whether the Liberals were planning to overturn the 2018 ban, a spokeswoman said it would not be a priority of a Coe government.
The Canberra Times sought clarification on whether this meant Mr Rattenbury’s statement was false, and the Liberals were not planning to overturn the ban.
A response to that question was never received. Instead, a Liberal spokeswoman provided a statement which took a swipe at Labor’s record, while reinforcing the opposition’s commitment to cutting taxes and improving taxpayer-funded services.
“Rather than helping stressed families by reducing cost-of-living pressures, Labor devoted their time in government to raising taxes, experimenting with drug laws and closing down local businesses that they didn’t like, taking away people’s jobs and livelihoods,” the spokeswoman said.
“Our highest priority in government will be slashing the cost of living and reducing pressure on struggling Canberra families. A Canberra Liberals government will be totally focused on delivering lower taxes and better services.”
Canberra Greyhound Racing Club chairman and Belco Party candidate Alan Tutt, who was among the most vocal opponents of the ban, said he would personally be pleased if the sport was allowed to resume in the nation’s capital.
But Mr Tutt said the Belco Party hadn’t discussed or formed a position on the sport’s future.
A Labor spokeswoman said: “Our position hasn’t changed. Greyhound racing in the ACT is prohibited.”