By Greyhounds Australasia CEO CHERIE NICHOLL
We are very lucky in Australia to be, for the most part, returning to some semblance of normality in the context of Australia’s response to and management of Covid 19.
It is fair to say that from a Greyhounds Australasia perspective, as a membership organisation with the controlling bodies as our members, progress on GA work was a little stifled last year. The priority for the controlling bodies was, and had to be, pivoting to do whatever it took to keep greyhound racing operating.
To have been one of the few industries that was able to continue throughout the lockdowns is a brilliant demonstration of what can be achieved when everyone works cohesively toward the same goal.
While future lockdowns cannot be ruled out, our governments have learned a great deal as they navigated our first pandemic in modern times and on that basis, I am hopeful that we will not see a year like 2020 in Australia for the foreseeable future!
With so much disruption over the last year, at the end of March (shortly before publication of this issue of The Chase), the GA Board, the jurisdiction CEOs and the GA Sub Committee Chairs will be meeting in Sydney to ‘reset’ the GA strategy. Not having had the opportunity to meet face to face for over a year means it has never been more important to re-evaluate our priorities and ensure that there is alignment across the jurisdictions.
We will be reviewing our purpose, our core objectives, and the priorities to deliver on those objectives. In addition, we will be looking at how we work so that we can be as efficient as possible in delivering outcomes for the industry.
Some GA projects were put on hold last year because there was concern that they would add to the pressure that the industry was already facing, both in terms of our participants, but also the controlling bodies. Those projects have been reinstated and new plans put in place to fast track finalisation.
The GA Rules Rework project is again a focus for the GA team and project leads in each jurisdiction. All stakeholder consultation is being managed by the controlling bodies in each state and after each phase of consultation the GA Rules Rework Committee will review the feedback for further finetuning where appropriate.
Before the end of the current financial year GA will also be conducting a national survey to better understand industry participants and learn what you want to see from the industry as well as GA specifically. There will be opportunity for you to let us know what works well and where you think GA and the industry can improve. This will also inform Phase 2 of the GA website development.
As many of you know Phase 1 of the GA website rebuild went live in mid-February as scheduled. The secure, cloud-based website has a new look and is a significant departure from the previous version which had not seen an update in 15 years.
You can now complete services and payments online, and already 60% of your payments are coming through in this way rather than posted forms. A far quicker and safer way to pay for GA services.
I would like to acknowledge the GA team for their work on the website which included countless hours of testing and retesting to ensure a smooth transition to the new website. Michelle, Georgia, and Holly took this on over and above their day-to-day workload. With Ian, they are a great team, and did a terrific job! The next phase will be to review the content on the GA website and that is another area we will be looking for feedback on via the national survey.
Greyhound Clubs Australia, Greyhound Racing Victoria, The Meadows, and GA have kicked off planning for the 2021 Greyhound Industry National Symposium on August 26, 2021. This will again coincide with the Nationals which will be in Melbourne this year. Having missed out on this event in 2020 due to Covid 19, we are working to deliver an event that will finally bring everyone from across the country together, and educate, inspire, and make us think about how we can work collaboratively and individually to advance and build our industry.
I will share more about what you can expect at the Symposium in coming months. It will be great to see as many of you there as possible.