The Canberra Greyhound Racing Club has blasted the Government’s polling last year on the industry as misleading and designed to support its goal of cutting public funding and banning dog racing.
The telephone polling by Orima Research in early 2017 showed that 67 per cent of respondents favoured the removal of “subsidies” to the greyhound racing industry, with 12 per cent opposed.
Club spokesman Kel Watts said queries about local greyhound racing funding were tacked on to the end of the 15-minute phone survey.
“The questions had no context, were factually inaccurate, and were designed to deliver an answer that supported the bad policy of cutting funding and possibly imposing a ban,” Mr Watts said.
He said documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws show people were asked: “The ACT Government provides subsidies for the ACT greyhound racing industry, which is currently worth approximately $1 million. To what degree would you support the removal of these subsidies?”
Mr Watts said the funding, which was redirected to the industry transition program from July last year, was not a subsidy but money from gambling agencies, which deliver a portion of the money they receive to the Government and racing industry.
“By failing to give context, such as the funds being used entirely for animal welfare and integrity measures, people had no idea what they were supporting or opposing,” he said.
“People were deliberately steered towards making a choice only about the removal of funds, rather than their use.”
Mr Watts said respondents weren’t told independent research commissioned by the ACT Treasury showed the local economy received a boost of more than $2 million for the funds passed on to greyhound racing.
“They also failed to mention the funds are just 12.5 per cent of the amount that goes to the entire ACT racing industry, with thoroughbred racing receiving $6 million a year and harness racing receiving over $1 million annually,” he said.
Mr Watts said that unlike greyhound racing, which uses all this funding for animal welfare and integrity measures, horse racing uses a significant portion for prize money.
“Without these important facts, it is very clear people didn’t know what they were really being asked and didn’t know what their answers really meant,” he said.
“The fact is that it was a flawed poll and bad polling method, with little scientific basis and a process engineered to give justification for a political decision.”
Mr Watt said the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club had commenced legal action to reinstate funding, arguing that it is a property right ”because the money is earned by providing product for the wagering sector”. It had also commenced legal action to fight the ban on racing in the ACT, which passed the Legislative Assembly in November.
What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you think the poll was unfairly biased towards the government? Let us know by commenting below.