SA greyhound racing inspector named

The state government has appointed a Greyhound Industry Reform Inspector following recommendations after an inquiry last year.

May 08, 2024, updated May 08, 2024
There have been 45 greyhound racing deaths around Australia this year. Photo: AAP / Joe Aston

There have been 45 greyhound racing deaths around Australia this year. Photo: AAP / Joe Aston

The government said this morning that Sal Perna, who served as Victoria’s inaugural racing integrity commissioner from 2010 to 2021, had been appointed to the role.

The appointment comes after Victorian police commissioner Graham Ashton released a report in December 2023 into South Australia’s greyhound racing industry, where he provided 86 recommendations, including to appoint an inspector.

The government accepted all recommendations, and previously said they expected to have an inspector appointed by Easter 2024.

Perna will oversee the implementation of Ashton’s recommendations by Greyhound Racing South Australia.

Perna was previously responsible for a 2015 inquiry into live baiting in Victorian greyhound racing.

A former police officer, Perna is also an independent director of the International Tennis Integrity Agency, a member of the National Sports Tribunal panel, and is on the board of the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Independent Ethics Board and the National Basketball League’s Advisory Board.

Perna said today that he looked forward to working with Greyhound Racing SA as they implement “a new future for the sport”.

“Our racing industries need to operate with integrity – and there is always room for improvement,” he said.

“Integrity is critical to success in racing. Without integrity, the industry’s reputation is damaged, people won’t bet, and stakeholders lose confidence.

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“It also goes without saying that the welfare of greyhounds must be a priority, not just their racing ability,” he said.

Greyhound racing

South Australia’s greyhound racing industry was given two years to make the changes recommended in the 2023 report. Photo: AAP

Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds SA director Elle Trahair called for the “same level of rigour” to be applied to the industry’s integrity and animal welfare.

“(Perna is) big on integrity, and what we know from in the greyhound space when there is a commitment to integrity, it usually means it’s about improving the gambling side of it, its around regulating and policing cheating, race fixing, and crimes against industry participants,” Trahair said.

“It doesn’t really have anything to do with welfare.”

There have been five greyhound racing deaths in South Australia this year, with 45 reported nationally by the greyhound coalition. The death of Menari One on April 21 in Mount Gambier followed the death of Marty’s Delight, who died ten days beforehand, also racing in Mount Gambier.

Racing Minister Katrine Hildyard said it was “critical to have someone with exemplary integrity and leadership to oversee this reform”.

“[Perna’s] extensive experience in and passion for integrity and ethics in sport and racing will be vital as the industry undertakes its process of reform and evolves in line with societal expectations,” she said.

Hildyard said she “looked forward to” Perna’s oversight as the greyhound industry worked to “address the identified issues, improve the welfare of greyhounds and generate public confidence in their efforts, the sport and its future”.

The government is considering legislation to support Perna’s powers.

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