By Greyhounds Australasia CEO CHERIE NICHOLL
In recent days, the Prime Minister and Premiers have shared their plans to allow us to slowly resume more aspects of our day to day lives.
By the time this edition of the Chase is published, all jurisdictions will have commenced rolling back Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
There have been challenges along the way for everyone in our industry, however, as I highlighted last month, through working together and adhering to the required biosecurity measures most of our industry has been privileged to continue to race.
New Zealand shut down for a month and returned to trialing then racing at the beginning of May. The Tasmanian government closed racing April 2 and recently advised a restart date of June 13. Trialing recommenced May 19 with very strong dog numbers.
It is not over yet and it will still be some time before full racing programs and general public attendance at races can resume. The controlling bodies will continue to ensure we are respecting the requirements of the state governments and chief medical officers, however it appears we have turned the corner, which is very welcome news.
Recent months have provided many industries an opportunity to take stock and make sure that they are operating to their optimum standards and also to look to the future and consider their ability to adapt and ensure sustainability. I like to always look for the positive in what otherwise may be considered a less than ideal situation. In thinking differently about how we operate, due to necessity over recent times, it opens new lines of thought that can be explored and capitalised on.
The last few months have reinforced the strengths of the industry parts joining and working as a whole. While each jurisdiction operates independently, the collaboration, support and sharing of information and strategies to achieve the best outcomes both through Covid-19 and beyond has highlighted the benefits of working together.
I shared some of the main elements of the Greyhounds Australasia strategic plan in my first column in February. Progress on that plan has had to take a back seat while we focused on how to respond to Covid-19. We are now switching our attention back to the strategic plan projects.
We are very close to completing a study that will tell us the size and value of the Greyhound Racing industry across Australia and New Zealand. We will know the contribution our industry makes to the economies of each jurisdiction and what that means in terms of not only financial contribution but jobs, as well as the positive social impact greyhound racing has on communities. This will become a key pillar in the campaign to further build our social license as an industry and support messaging for the general public as well as industry stakeholders.
Earlier this month we also kicked off a major project looking at our data across the jurisdictions. The aim of this project is to work out how we can make sure industry data is as consistent as possible in data definitions and reporting.
Greyhounds Australasia also recently committed to a research project to gain better knowledge about Canine (Covid) Gastroenteritis, as there have been many cases across the jurisdictions in recent months. The Greyhounds Australasia Vets and Analysts Sub Committee has been monitoring the Canine Covid very closely and this research will enable them to better understand the strain sequence and the likely effectiveness of a vaccine. The project will also look at how the disease was spread to determine how we can improve our response to future outbreaks of this nature.
It has been a very interesting few months and an amazing demonstration of how quickly we can adjust and pivot as required to ensure our sustainability. Everyone should be incredibly proud of how they have responded to this crisis. We do need to continue to adhere to the measures that will keep us all safe. Continue social distancing and being cautious in our person-to-person interactions. However, I for one, am excited to again start moving forward on all our plans and projects to help our industry continue our upward trajectory.