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Lawyers sink teeth into Baird's greyhound ban

A Federal Court challenge to the NSW greyhound racing ban could see the legislation overturned.
A Federal Court challenge to the NSW greyhound racing ban could see the legislation overturned. R.O'Donnell

A FEDERAL Court challenge could overturn Premier Mike Baird's greyhound racing ban for restricting New South Wales people's right to free interstate trade.

The NSW Greyhound Industry Alliance began proceedings on Tuesday, running alongside an existing Supreme Court challenge to the validity of the report that prompted the ban.

NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers' Association chief executive Brenton Scott says the ban encroaches upon Section 92 of the Constitution, which guarantees freedom of interstate trade.

"The effect of the Greyhound Prohibition Act is to make unlawful in NSW an activity that is legal everywhere else in Australia," he said.

"If successful, the Federal Court proceedings will invalidate the legislation."

Former solicitor-general David Bennett, who won 75 of his 85 cases in the role, will argue for the industry in the Federal Court.

Mr Scott said both legal cases would be pursued to completion.

"The difference is that these Federal Court proceedings challenge the Act itself, whereas our action in the Supreme Court challenges the McHugh Report which formed the basis for the government's decision," he said.

"We will continue to fight the legislation through all the channels available to us."

Deputy Premier Troy Grant has denied reports he told party-mates he may be forced to resign if the Nationals lost the November by-election.

Orange has been one of the Nationals' safest seats - the party won the last election with a margin of 71% to 29% - but the decision to back the Liberals' greyhound ban has made the Nationals' position look a little less secure.

Mr Grant is facing dissent from within his own party, with Nationals MPs Andrew Fraser and Katrina Hodgkinson boycotting party room meetings last week over the ban.

Ms Hodgkinson and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis were sacked as parliamentary secretaries after they voted against the ban in August.

Rumours of the state's foremost greyhound track, Wentworth Park in Sydney, being sold off to apartment developers have also been denied.

Reports on 2GB radio spoke of three major developers in talks on Monday with the Baird Government about building a 360-unit complex.

The premier's office has denied the rumour, reiterating that any tracks currently on Crown land would be kept for public use.

ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  ban, brenton scott, federal court, greyhound, mike baird, niall blair, racing, supreme court, wentworth park


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