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  • 19/09/2021 5:27 PM | Anonymous

    This week Greyhound Racing Victoria increased Victorian greyhound racing prizemoney by $5.3m, to pay $63.5m in the year to 30 June 2022.  Any increase is good, so well done.  A step, though more are needed, is better than none.

    Whatever else may be said this would not have occurred without your and our sustained action.  We know this.  You do too.  GOTBA Vic’s preference, based on what you told us, was for an unplaced fee, in addition to increases at Level 2 and Level 1.  An unplaced fee is of wider benefit.  It ought come very soon in a high cost environment.

    We need to make clear a few points about prizemoney going forward though. 

    In the year to 30 June 2021, GRV had record income and you had record work in races to attend and dogs to care for.  You were never paid a lower % of GRV income, and had slipped to the bottom few States in per race prizemoney.  

    GRV had $20m in extra (unbudgeted) income actually earned last financial year.  Of that, as of now just the $5.3m announced this week has been committed to you.

    One might ask, still, where is the rest going, or where has it gone?  Some answers will come from GRV’s Annual Report for 20/21, when it arrives.  Watch that space.  We will be.  

    At present, betting turnover (Australia wide), and industry income this year is still COVID affected: that is, very high.   Records last year may well be bettered.  Frankly, more increases in participant returns should be expected to occur this financial year.

    What if, in the 2 years to 30 June 2022, GRV achieves income of $250m-$280m (this is possible), and returns just $115m (the figure currently projected) to you as prizemoney?

    You have EVERY RIGHT to demand that a minimum share of annual GRV income is returned to you, who provide the product and take all manner of risk

    That share should be 50%.  Minimum.  Less will be unacceptable.  It should be committed to. We are focused on that.   

    For now, on prizemoney, we watch and wait.  We will not wait long.

    PS – We will soon be re-engaged with GRV on matters of fairness and tracks, and will report on outcomes of that.

    GOTBA Vic Committee

    September 2021


  • 25/08/2021 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    Action items:  what they are, and their status (as at 21 August 2021)

    The Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria Inc was engaged in formal mediation with Greyhound Racing Victoria over the last month or so.

    Before mediation was agreed, we asked the GRV Board to agree actions / outcomes on participant returns, participant fairness and safety.

    We proposed these because we considered them important, measurable, and capable of being done, for the long-term benefit of all participants whether large, small or in-between; whether hobby or professional.

    These action items (which are in summary form) - and where they sit after the end of the formal mediation process (as at 21 August 2021) can be viewed here - Mediation - outcomes 21.8.21.pdf

    We invite you to read and consider them, and welcome your support.

    Regards

    GOTBA Vic Committee



  • 25/08/2021 10:22 AM | Anonymous

    RELEASE:   Reply to GRV Chair statement 23 August and email to participants

    GOTBA Vic briefly responds to a public statement by GRV chair Peita Duncan released 23 August 2021.    We understand that GRV sent an email containing some of what that said to participants.

    Mediation

    GOTBA Vic did not ‘walk away’ from mediation.  Its term ended without agreement: nothing of any substance from GRV willed us to extend it further. 

    It is fascinating that GRV refers to using best efforts to reach a constructive outcome.  We did not see evidence of that.   

    If GRV wants to press that point, be radically transparent:  allow GOTBA Vic to release details of what actually occurred during mediation.   That would not turn out well for GRV.

    We’re happy to engage with GRV – but not in the manner we just have.

    Prizemoney

    With GRV, it’s what is not said that is important. 

    GRV’s Chair says the total prizemoney pool increased $12m since the start of the last financial year; that Victoria pays more prizemoney in total than other jurisdictions.

    Not said: GRV has increased the size of the racing program since the start of the last financial year.   Not said: Victoria pays the most prizemoney overall only because it runs the most races by some margin.   Not said:  Victorian participants do the most work and take the most financial risk to earn that amount.  Not said:   Victoria also spends by far – by  a mile - the most on administration and other costs, with no noticeable size efficiencies.   

    In our view, nor is Victoria 2nd in average prizemoney per race, contrary to what GRV’s Chair suggests. 

    We end with this. 

    A March 2017 report released by GRV – The Size and Scope Of The Victorian Greyhound Racing Industry stated that in 2015/16 alone participants spent $72m breeding and training greyhounds. 

    A fair estimate of annual participant investment now in Victoria is $100m per year:  bigger industry, onerous Code of Practice commenced, and various other cost increases have been imposed.   In 2019, 79% of members surveyed said their costs had increased at least 15% (average around 30%) from 2017 alone.   

    Meat feed costs– in the last year– have increased 25-40%.

    Into this, last year, GRV paid less of its income than it EVER had to help participants meet those costs.  Of $20m of over budget income last financial year, during a pandemic, it has paid none to participants.

    That’s how much it shows it cares.     If you want this to change, you’ll have to change it with us.

    Lynton Hogan, President  - Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria, Inc

    23 August 2021


  • 16/07/2021 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    After the announcement of Day of Action 2.0, otherwise occurring 22 July 2021, GOTBA Vic has been approached by the Office of Racing with a mediation proposal.

    The mediation proposal has been accepted – a mediation expected to be up to 4 weeks will occur with GRV with the assistance of an independent mediator.

    Our issues are familiar to you.  Members have received detail earlier in the week of precise matters, and the original call to action for 3 July is on this website. 

    As a sign of the good faith in entering into this mediation, we believe that Day of Action 2.0 should be PAUSED

    So, please nominate for Shepparton, Warrnambool, Warragul and Sandown 22 July 2021.

    While mediation lasts, our comment on what is occurring in or around it will be limited.  

    But be under no illusion, we remain 100% committed to real resolution and achieving what we all see as necessary, long-lasting change.

    You will be promptly informed of outcomes from mediation and any next steps.

    We remain humbled by the level of continuing support for collective participant progress and action – hold it - and we keep that firmly in our mind going into and coming out of any mediation.

    A joint GRV - GOTBA Vic statement on mediation occurring is at this link - GOTBA GRV joint statement.pdf

    Lynton Hogan

    President – Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria Inc


  • 14/07/2021 12:56 PM | Anonymous

    In June 2021, we called and you responded magnificently to a call for action on 3 July 2021 - GOTBA Victoria - CALL TO ACTION - SAFE RACING, FAIR TREATMENT, FAIR PAY - 3 July 2021

    Members will have received an email today about developments since then.  Further action is needed unless there are significant developments.

    So, 22 July 2021.  Day of Action 2.0.

    Act together, get change!!!!

    Make GRV listen and act

    What we are asking YOU as a participant

    On Thursday 22nd July 2021 do not nominate your dogs to race for Shep (1/2 stake), Wgul (T3), Wbool (L2) Sdwn (L1).

    Encourage others to do the same

    On 3 July 2021, you made Victorian racing history with Day of Action 1. 

    Change must happen on returns, participant fairness and safety.  We took YOUR issues to the GRV chief executive and Board.  GRV administration and the Board have not yet acted. 

    Many have called for a Day of Action 2.0 to show your lack of confidence in GRV and give required change an even bigger push.  We agree.

    The key issues remain…

    PARTICIPANT RETURNS           CROSS CONTAMINANTS AND FAIR TREATMENT        TRACK SAFETY

    but it is clear GRV has ongoing cultural issues where participants are aggressively put last.  That must stop. Make it.  If this requires immediate GRV management and board change to achieve, so be it.

    On returns, did you know that in the year to 30 June 2021 GRV had $21 million more income than budgeted? 

    That it returned NONE of that to participants, and paid the lowest % of its income to you this century?

    A guaranteed 50% minimum return to participants would have resulted in more than $11m extra having been paid to you for 20-21.


    WHAT WE EXPECT

    Minimum commitments to change in writing, because the time for talk, buck passing and pushing off into the future is well gone.  Our demands in each of the key issues areas are public – see our website. 

    Please feel free to contact any of the committee members for any questions you might have and please follow the GOTBA Vic Facebook page for updates.  Act together, get change!

    Committee - GOTBA Vic


  • 01/07/2021 7:24 PM | Anonymous

    A thank you from the GOTBA Vic President

    Today, 1 July 2021, is a landmark day in greyhound racing.  With courage, sacrifice and action, YOU have sent a powerful message that must be heard.

    On Saturday 3 July, there will be no greyhound racing in Victoria.  The first time Victorian racing has been halted in this way.  YOU cared enough to say change must come right now and we will wait no longer for it. 

    Treat participants fairly – our workplace, our homes, our greyhounds.  Invest in and improve the tracks we have.  Ensure, and commit to, fair pay.  Don’t spin, and especially don’t preference yourselves over participants.

    Many said a race day strike could not be done – that small and large, hobby and professional could not work together, for each other, towards common goals.  Wrong.  And they could again if required.  Not least because the need for change, particularly regulator cultural change to have a sport where people feel valued, is just so strong.

    We want a better future for you and the wonderful dogs we love. 


    We are re-engaging with Greyhound Racing Victoria on actions that urgently need to be taken by it. 

    We sincerely hope this will be a new beginning for GRV, embarrassed though it may be, and that from now on it approaches consultation and participant need with humility and action.  The arrogance seen in particular in the last fortnight, and that all participants have lived with for far longer, should dissolve.

    You will hear more on progress on participant fairness, tracks and fair pay in the next little while.

    To all Victorian participants, and our members especially (including the huge number of new ones), thank you. 

    To my volunteer committee, on whom much strain has been placed, I am proud of your efforts.  But we are not yet done.

    Lynton Hogan
    President, GOTBA Vic


  • 25/06/2021 8:50 PM | Anonymous

    This evening we received a letter from Alan Clayton CEO of GRV regarding a meeting between 5 GOTBA representatives and GRV's Deputy Chair, CEO and Chair held on 22 June 2021.

    GRV's letter has little to commend it, and will have no effect on impending action.

    Here it is - 21.06.25 - GRV letter to GOTBA.pdf

    We will reply to GRV. 

    Committee

    GOTBA Vic


  • 19/06/2021 10:00 AM | Anonymous

    19 June 2021

    OPEN LETTER TO VICTORIAN GREYHOUND RACING PARTICIPANTS

    NO CONFIDENCE IN GREYHOUND RACING VICTORIA (GRV) - A call to action

    The Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria Inc (GOTBA Vic) represents Victorian greyhound racing participants.

    We no longer have confidence in Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV).  Nor should you.

    GOTBA Vic believes Victorian greyhound participants need to take action for fair pay, fair treatment and safe racing.  

    Action will occur, first on 3 July 2021.  We have support from large, medium and small kennels for it.  Stand together to get change.

    Stay tuned for further details.

    THE GOALS

    ISSUE

    GOAL

    Safe racing

    GRV to commit in writing to a 5 and 10 year club works program, with a committed funding path, implementing key recommendation of major independent track safety reports.

    Fair pay - Participant returns

    GRV written commitment to return 50% of its gross annual income to participants annually, on and from 1 July 2022, to fix continued slide in participant share of the sport’s income.

    Fair treatment

    A commitment to introduce contaminant threshold levels across a range of commonly found feed and environment contaminants.

    By appointment only private property inspections in all circumstances save where a rule breach affecting greyhound welfare is known or reasonably suspected.  Basis for knowledge or suspicion to be delivered in writing on inspection.

    A commitment to not pursue rule/policy changes without publicly released cost / benefit analysis,  prior participant input and pre-change written feedback on consideration of that input.

    GRV management

    Independent external costs review of GRV administration, to be publicly released.

    WHY THIS IS CRITICAL

    For many years your GOTBA has advocated, from a participant perspective, issues that have real impact on the lives of participants and the care and welfare of their greyhounds.  Since 2015, participants have driven and effected necessary change, at significant financial and other cost.   

    For several years, but again recently, GOTBA Vic has raised concerns re track safety, sinking participant returns per race / as a share of GRV income, and participant fairness.  We have done this with GRV, the Office of Racing and the Minister.   Issues are well past critical.

    In GRV, under its current leadership, we have an arrogant, disingenuous (see table in Schedule 1) administration, hardwired to put participants last, usually under cover of faux marketing speak.  You are not respected in action.  Consultation is only a catchphrase.  Promises of change made and then immediately forgotten are standard. 

    GRV changes nothing in lasting form, offers more of the same and its fellow bureaucrats support that. 

    Fair pay

    On participant returns, on a per race/meeting basis (the only basis that matters), Victoria has gone from first Australia wide to near last under the current administration.  It is Australia’s most costly per meeting greyhound jurisdiction to run racing.  Participation costs – compliance, basic feed, ancillary racing (eg catching) costs - have mushroomed in this time.  When last reported, participants received LESS PER MEETING ON AVERAGE THAN 6 YEARS AGO.

    GRV has for seven years driven participant % returns lower to fund exploding wage bills for administrators, consultant fees and media contracts.   The money is not going to clubs (particularly coursing).  It has not gone to infrastructure.   Participants returns have been – are - diverted to the tune of $7m -$10m per year.

    Major, permanent change is needed. This is not all about individual increases.

    In March 2021 GRV refused point blank to guarantee ANY minimum % return of its income to participants.  You (therefore your greyhounds too) do NOT get a fair share.  Check out the table at the end of this letter.

    ‘Record prizemoney’ is a charade. On prizemoney, GRV will likely return in financial year 20-21 the lowest % of its revenue to participants this century: disguised under cover of unwarranted – and unconsulted – race program expansion used to fund administrative cost blowout. 

    This expansion strategy is bad for you, bad for your ability to care for dogs, bad for the ability to rehome more of them and bad for track safety (trial and race load on tracks with persistently long-term underfunded infrastructure).

    We no longer have confidence in GRV permanently giving fair pay to participants.

    Safe racing

    On track safety, GRV has failed to action many independent expert track safety recommendations.  Capital expenditure was habitually deferred pre-COVID to minimise GRV losses. 

    Despite major trainers in 2020 coming together with track preparation concerns in crisis meetings in which promises were made by GRV, we still see, for example, unsafe racing and major injuries after extensive harrowing of tracks far too close to meetings/trials.

    We no longer have confidence in GRV ensuring safe racing.

    Fair treatment

    On participant fairness, GRV refuses to recognise the impact of the extensive issue of feed or other cross-contamination and actively promotes rules or policies that treat participants like criminals in all but name for obviously accidental occurrences, where race and welfare impact is non-existent.  It recently, with a tin ear, indicated a doubling down of this.  

    GRV refuses to listen to and action real concerns.  It routinely approves rule changes, then ‘consults’ on them.  There is a distinct culture at GRV of treating participants as little more than serfs.

    We no longer have confidence in GRV treating participants fairly and respectfully.

    WHY PARTICPANT ACTION IS NEEDED

    GOTBA Vic has received no comfort from GRV that the current administration gets it, or participant anger. 

    GRV tries to freeze out critics.  Pushed into any corner, it makes long term, vague ‘promises’ that it bins.  No change will happen…unless you make it happen.

    GRV will respect participants only through collective action that continues until goals are achieved.

    We call on Victorian participants.  Nothing will change unless you make it.

    THE COMMITTEE

    GOTBA VICTORIA


    Arrogance and unfairness – in GRV’s own words and figures (all figures GRV reports)

     

    2013/14 (unless stated)

    2018/19 – BEFORE COVID

    2019/20 – DURING COVID

    Ave prizemoney per meeting held

    $39,029

    $39,108 (a reduction, inflation adjusted)

     $38,147 (real reduction)

    Race meetings held

    1071

    1189

    1198

    GRV total annual revenue

    $78.3m

    $103.6m (up 32%)

    $106.7m

    % total prizemoney to GRV revenue

    [1% = ¬ $1m in 18/19, 19/20]

    53.4%

    44.9% (down 8.5%)

    42.9% (down 2%) – including a $800k REDUCTION in prizemoney despite more meetings/races

    PRIZEMONEY IF 50% MIN RETURN of GRV INCOME to PARTICIPANTS

    $39.15m

    $51.8m ($5.3m more than actually paid)

    $53.35m ($7.65m more than actually paid)

    GRV’s attitude on display – COVID – GRV expenses v Participants

    Peita DUNCAN (GRV Chair) to GOTBA Vic in writing April 2020:  "In order to minimise the impact of COVID-19, GRV has recently commenced its implementation of our substantial cost containment strategy to help drive significant cost reductions across the business, while also seeking to protect stake money."

    Minister Pakula: Public Accounts and Estimates Committee June 2020:  Greyhound Racing Victoria has advised that it has reduced its administrative costs during the COVID-19 pandemic by approximately $860,000 per month.

    WHAT HAPPENED = right hand column (note above: prizemoney DROPPED…)

    GRV annual expenses (non-prizemoney, non-infrastructure)

    (2014/15) $28.1m

    $52.8m (up 86%)

    $56.7m (up from 18/19)

    Administrative costs

    (14/15) $5.17m

    $12.67m

    $14.37m - (up from 18/19)

    Employees (FTEs)

    (14/15) 87

    180 (up > 100%)

    192 (up from 18/19)

    Employee cost - annual

    (15/16) $11m

    $24m (up >100%)

    $25m (up from 18/19)

    GRV board wages/expenses

    (15/16) $367,000

    $671,000 (up 83%)

    $836,000 (up from 18/19)

    GRV CEO total remuneration

    (15/16 – annualised) $375-385k

    $430-440k

    $430-440k (same)


  • 09/05/2021 5:00 PM | Anonymous

    We have suffered this long enough.  

    Actions - actions - suggest Greyhound Racing Victoria, and the Racing Minister, hold almost no interest in:

    • Victorian greyhound racing participants sharing fairly in the fruits of their own increasing labour; or
    • braking the most bloated, inefficient public sports administration in Australian racing (maybe Australian sport?).

    The problem is this:  Victorian participants receive less average per meeting prizemoney now than they did 6 years ago, despite industry income being almost $30m higher annually. Victoria pays the 4th or 5th highest average per race prizemoney in Australia while working participants harder than anywhere else, and we are straining, and failing, under the weight of increased costs in all areas.

    We expect that in 20/21 GRV will return the lowest % of its income to Victorian greyhound racing participants this century It slides ever lower.

    This is shameful. Other jurisdictions must laugh at us, while we are sat on by bureaucracy for whom increasing this year's salary / stipend seems to matter more than improving, in real terms, the lot of those who work in the sport and actually bear all its risks and burdens.

    The problem is GRV management

    In GRV, you have Australia's biggest but still highest cost - excluding prizemoney - provider of greyhound racing.  Numbers don't lie.  The GRV equivalent cost of running greyhound racing in several other States is half of that in Victoria.   

    GRV may be one of Australia's only sports administrations that INCREASED administration costs in the first year of COVID - but under CEO Alan Clayton it has never done anything else.  

    As to attitude, GRV works to the future soundbite, not future substance. 

    Its most recent sleight of hand is to keep expanding the size of the racing calendar, against any medium term rationale (particularly adoption scope, on GRV's own figures) to do it, to lay claim to paying 'record [overall]  prizemoney', while reducing average per race returns to participants. 

    This financial year GRV is projected to raise overall participant returns by 12%, but only by increasing the number of race meetings by 13%. This is tired, but very standard GRV chicanery, burdening participants with the work while in reducing returns.  GRV will of course, mention the former figure only in its headlines. 

    It's the equivalent of requiring a full extra day's work and paying ONLY participants less than proper rate for it (not stewards or administrators - they get full rates).  If this was tried in the public service...

    Whether in letters, meetings, faux consultative groups - whatever - we just don't see any evidence that GRV management gets that continually driving down participant 'per kennel' returns, despite massive participant cost increases, is terrible for people and greyhounds alike.  

    Being more realistic about it, this administration, and we include the GRV board here based on its actions alone, probably just does not care - the focus on a board report line item at the expense of the real costs of real people is a travesty.   

    How does GRV do this? 

    GRV cares about the Minister and the media.  Nothing else. 

    GRV does what it gets away with doing.  

    In the Racing Minister, we have an overseer who we have plenty of time for, but who on this issue - prizemoney and administration - seemingly doesn't apply a telescope to GRV and its board, let alone the microscope required.  

    We show this below.

    GOTBA Vic 2020 correspondence to the Minister and 2021 response

    In 2020, after the horror show 2020 GRV Annual Report - 30% senior executive salary cost increases in a pandemic are ok at GRV! - we wrote to the Minister, highlighting GRV's apparently misleading statements to both GOTBA Vic and the Minister, its poor financial performance, and asking for his assistance.

    The solution is clear: mandate or direct a minimum return to participants of 50% of GRV revenue.

    Here is our correspondence to the Minister - GOTBA Vic -Letter Minister - GRV Annual Report 2020.pdf

    Here's his response months later - Letter - GOTBA - Racing Minister.pdf

    The Minister's response is a mishmash of GRV management talking points that avoids almost every key indicia of what we pointed out or asked.

    It does not - because it cannot - deny that GRV runs Australia's most expensive (excl prizemoney) greyhound administration, its prizemoney performance is poor, and that GRV increased its admin and office spending during COVID despite telling the Minister and GOTBA Vic it was massively cutting it.

    The response proposes nothing, not even in response to GRV's 'costs containment' initiative that, erm, resulted in increased costs. Well, unless by cost containment what was meant was prizemoney containment.

    What does this mean?

    The Racing Minister is content with the status quo or cares insufficiently to do anything about obvious problems. 

    GRV current management is the status quo.

    If you are a greyhound racing participant and know that you are being incredibly badly shafted by an administration that is content to feed at the trough at your expense, then you need to take matters into your own hands.

    If we want change, it needs to come from our own hand and action. 

    More to follow.

    Lynton Hogan

    President GOTBA Vic 



  • 07/05/2021 5:03 PM | Anonymous

    The Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria recently made a detailed submission to Greyhounds Australasia's National Rules review. 

    We encourage you to read our submissions - GOTBA Vic - Letter GA Rules.pdf  and GOTBA Vic - comments GA Rules.pdf

    We coordinated closely with participant bodies in other States.  The NSW GBOTA, as well as Greyhound Participants Australia, have made similar submissions.

    Participants need to be listened to.

    We are told there will be a further round of consultation - public - in the near future.  

    Again, participants need to be listened to.

    GOTBA Vic Committee


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