Animal welfare central to review of State’s greyhound racetracks


The State’s three greyhound tracks are being upgraded to ensure they deliver the best levels of care for racing greyhounds following a review by the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

As part of its commitment to provide the highest animal welfare standards, Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) commissioned the UTS review, to assess the tracks against the latest design and maintenance technology and research. UTS has been engaged by greyhound racing regulatory bodies in other states to conduct similar reviews.

The review of the Northam, Mandurah, and Cannington tracks included track design, cross-falls, race dynamics and injury rates, starting boxes and catching pens and track surface maintenance.

The UTS review and recommendations provide clear advice on improving the three tracks in line with current design elements and greyhound racing research.

General Manager Racing Charlotte Mills said RWWA was committed to continuous improvement and rigorous welfare standards.

“The tracks at Northam, Mandurah, and Cannington were built to the design and animal welfare standards of the time, but advancements in technology and new research allow for improvements to be made,” Charlotte said.

“Research relating to greyhound racing, funded by the greyhound industry nationally continue to develop. In line with this, RWWA has carefully considered all findings within the report resulting in a series of current and planned works.”

“The Northam track was closed when racing was consolidated to Cannington and Mandurah because of COVID-19 restrictions. This enabled work recommended in the UTS review to be undertaken immediately to allow better track preparation and safer racing.”

Work at Northam is expected to finish this month (September).

RWWA has invested $366,000 on initial improvements at Northam, Mandurah, and Cannington in line with UTS recommendations, including new equipment related to track maintenance.

In the longer term the UTS review recommends transitioning out of Northam, to a new greyhound facility at a greenfield location.

“Subject to a business case, the RWWA Board supports the recommendation and RWWA will work with specialist civil engineers to develop concept designs for a multi-purpose venue,” Charlotte said.

“The centre will aim for a holistic approach by providing spaces to support early education services and training resources as well as racing premises with optimal track composition for greyhound safety and welfare.”

Concept designs are being developed for work at Mandurah and Cannington in line with the UTS recommendations, including improved catching pens and starting boxes. The cost of the work, which will go out to tender, is subject to final designs.

The upgrades at Mandurah and Cannington are expected to start in mid-2022. Further information is available below.