During the 1930s the GOTBA made a deputation to the Chief Secretary requesting that non-proprietary tin hare racing and the Tote be introduced. Also during this decade the GOTBA were instrumental in the introduction of ear-branding, penalties being handed out for fighters and obtained standardisation of hurdles sizes.
Non-proprietary Tin Hare racing with Tote Betting as we know it today, would not be possible if not for the persistency of the GOTBA lobbying the Government for over two decades. This occurred from the 1930s through the 1940s and up until the passing of The Dog Racing Bill through Parliament, which was enshrined in legislation in May 1955. For a more detailed discussion of activity during this time, click here.
The 1940s saw the GOTBA gain a rule that made sure all box draws were done in public and also obtain a qualified veterinarian on race day at all Melbourne tracks. This era also saw the GOTBA obtain the introduction of qualifying trials for low grade greyhounds and for all monies from abandoned races to be divided amongst contestants.
The 1950s was a busy time highlighted by the Dog Racing bill being introduced. It passed through the Lower House in July 1954, the Legislative Council in November 1954 before being introduced in May 1955. The first non-proprietary track in Victoria was opened at Goulburn Valley.
The GOTBA ran their first non-proprietary meeting at Maribyrnong and in January 1956 created the MGRA as the name under which they would use their Greyhound Racing License, unintentionally creating a separate body.
The GOTBA fought for a number of important initiatives during this time, requesting the first photo finish system to be used at greyhound racing, the introduction of juvenile races and after a long struggle won the right for reserves to be guaranteed a start the following week. The GOTBA also sought permission for greyhounds to race in bandages and for clubs to install oscillating fans in kennel blocks.
During the 1960s the GOTBA remained just as active, requesting a Dog Racing Control Board for all race clubs, getting speakers put into kennels so trainers could hear races, lobbying for the introduction of wash bays at all tracks and ensuring that handlers permits were issued for free.
The GOTBA attempted to create another track outside the 40-mile radius at Broadford and succeeded in getting the Board to rule that nobody who has to travel long distances will have their greyhound drawn as a reserve. They also succeeded in introducing a 5 pound payment to breeders of metropolitan winners to help stimulate breeding.
The 1970s and ’80s saw the GOTBA fight for the introduction of electric timing on all tracks and get an agreement in place that saw all tracks brushed between races. They also lobbied for the air-conditioning of all kennel blocks. This was a fairly tumultuous period in the GOTBA’s history that saw a lot of factions appear and unfortunately many records from this period were lost.
The 1990s saw the GOTBA initiate the idea of a GOBIS scheme and lobbied the then Government for funds to set up the scheme, which was established soon after. The GOTBA presented track record holders with rugs to commemorate the occasion and trophies were organised and presented to both the stud dog and brood bitch of the year.
The GOTBA represented the industry at the Animal Expo and donated money to assist in the construction of the Sunshine slipping track. With the introduction of GAP, the GOTBA campaigned for funding from within the industry.
At the start of 2000, GRV introduced stakes equalization, which had a profound affect in increasing short course racing by 80% over the next 10+ years and a drop off in distance racing. We have requested that they look at rectifying this problem.
In 2005, we lobbied GRV to change from two tiered racing to three tiered racing, in an attempt to give the lower graded dogs more opportunity.
We also lobbied GRV to maintain qualifying events, a request that was coincidently supported in Judge Gordon Lewis’s ‘Integrity in racing Review’.
In 2008, we presented GRV with a 508 person industry petition requesting the trialling of a finish on type of lure, which was subsequently rejected by GRV. Under a new Board, CEO and management team, in 2017 GRV trialled various styles of hoop arms and once a style was decided upon, introduced the hoop arm at all tracks as the new standard racing lure. Follow on lures were also trialled, with the outside track at Geelong converted to a finish on lure due to catching pen problems in late 2017. GOTBA ran a Workshop during 2017 to discuss the pros and cons of the Finish on Lure with positive results. It appears that there is some agreement by participants for one or two tracks to offer the Finish on Lure once a month for those trainers and greyhounds that might benefit from racing on this type of lure.
Over the last few years we succeeded with the introduction of ‘out of race testing’ to assist trainers getting new dogs from other trainers and wanting some peace of mind and security with prohibited substances.
We also succeeded with the direct payment of prize money and GST to owners and trainers, the wearing of cooling vests for greyhounds on the way to the boxes and from catching pens back to the kennel block on hot days and the introduction into Victoria of the sand guard muzzle.
Behind the scenes GOTBA fought for and won modifications to the Treatment Record Book before it was implemented in January 2014.
GOTBA have been heavily involved in working with the Planning Department, Councils and GRV to reform the Planning system in Victoria in relation to greyhound properties to provide participants with consistent requirements across the State when applying for a permit to keep or train greyhounds. Mid 2017 saw the release and implementation of Planning Guidelines for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds by the Minister for Planning. While the intentions were good, the wording and interpretation of the guidelines and shortcomings in the communication to Councils on it's use when considering permit applications means more work is needed.
After 2 long years, it is looking like the reformed Code of Practice will be released in the first quarter of 2018. Committee Members collectively spent hundreds of hours working with GRV and Animal Welfare, DEDJTR, and Department of Racing representatives to overhaul the old Code of Practice and make it a document that not only satisfied all Stakeholders that animal welfare standards for socialization and enrichment could be implemented, but was also a document that was practical and workable for participants. Whilst not fully endorsing the latest draft, the Committee are happy that some major concessions were won.
GOTBA will always strive to improve conditions for Members.