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New racing minister ‘appalled’ at greyhound footage

ONLY hours after being officially sworn in as sports and racing minister, Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne was told about an unfolding scandal that would affect his portfolio.

It was revealed on ABC program Four Corners on Monday that some trainers were using live bait including piglets, possums and rabbits to train greyhounds for the race track.

Mr Byrne said he was told of the scandal on Monday afternoon and asked for an urgent briefing.

"Like everyone in this room and every other Queenslander I was appalled by what I witnessed last night," he said on Tuesday.

"That level of barbarism and behaviour is completely unacceptable in 21st century Queensland. I would think the mongrels involved in this would be facing the full consequences of their actions."

He said he had sought his ministerial options and regulations he could act within.

But he also stressed the acts of a few individuals should not tarnish the entire greyhound industry.

"Most of the people I know in the greyhound industry, particularly in regional Queensland are decent, honest, hardworking Queenslanders," he said.

"It is a problem for the industry. A reputation damaged by this sort of exposure is considerable and it would be naive to think otherwise."

While Mr Byrne admitted he had not spoken directly to Racing Queensland, he said there was regulatory responsibility needed.

"And the regulator clearly needs to pay attention to all aspects of racing across the state," he said.

"I think it's a matter probably for the inquiry process to reveal exactly what level of regulatory oversight was absent, assuming that all matters are revealed within such an inquiry."

- APN NEWSDESK


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