DAVID MOIR

Greyhound industry appeals to court to cancel ban

THE New South Wales greyhound racing industry's first legal challenge to a proposed statewide ban will begin in the Supreme Court today.

A racing industry alliance filed proceedings in July seeking for the government's racing inquiry report to be declared invalid, thereby undermining the basis for the ban.

The Supreme Court summons claimed the McHugh Commission report that uncovered widespread animal abuse across the NSW industry, lacked procedural fairness, was unreasonable and went beyond its terms of reference.

The court could overturn the ban if it finds the inquiry overstepped its mark.

The Baird Government is expected to introduce the ban to parliament this week, but may choose to further delay until the lower house next meets on Tuesday, August 23.

Its introduction had been anticipated last week but was postponed.

A number of Coalition MPs are expected to break ranks and cross the floor - or at least abstain from voting - when the vote comes to parliament.

The Nationals' Kevin Humphries has been one of the most outspoken critics of his party's stance, alongside party-mate Katrina Hodgkinson.

Speaking to Ray Hadley on 2GB yesterday, **MONDAY, AUGUST 8** the Barwon MP said he was pushing for the Coalition to implement a three-year grace period to give the industry a chance to prove it could clean up.

"People like me didn't join parliament to shut industries down or ban things," he said.

"Certain people that have been advising the Premier and the Deputy Premier have acted in haste, which is why people like me are encouraging people to just step back.

"My position is very clear, and it's the position of some of my colleagues as well.

"You keep the ban in place but you push it out for three years.

"You give them oxygen; you implement the recommendations that were well on the way to being implemented anyway.

"And if they can't achieve that after three years, you crack them off."

Labor, the Christian Democrats and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party will fight the ban.

But the Greens and Animal Justice Party-backed Coalition will have the numbers unless more Nationals or Liberal MPs cross the floor.

The ban is expected to include the threat of up to a year in jail or an $11,000 fine for anyone caught running underground greyhound racing after July next year. -ARM NEWSDESK