QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
GREYHOUND RACING INDUSTRY
Mr FACE: Yesterday the honourable member for Wagga Wagga asked me a question concerning a positive swab taken from the greyhound Fiji Phil at Moss Vale last October. I now have some further information which I provide to the House. I have been concerned that the Greyhound Racing Control Board has a policy of not informing the Police Service of positive swabs to prohibited drugs until after the results of the stewards inquiry.
Ms Machin: On a point of order: I do not believe it is in order for a Minister to provide a supplementary answer on two occasions to the same question. Yesterday he provided the House with a supplementary answer at the end of question time, and he now seeks to provide a further supplementary answer. I would have thought that he could have used another form of the House to provide the information.
Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is some substance to the point of order. However, Ministers provide members with all the information that becomes available to questions that are asked of them.
Mr FACE: I have told the board that I require it to re-examine its policy in the light of the policy adopted by the Australian Jockey Club and the Harness Racing Authority; namely, to inform
the Police Service as soon as a positive swab is detected. I do not want the House to think that the Greyhound Racing Control Board has been idle in the detection of drugs. In fact, the board has been very positive in its fight against those who seek to use drugs to either improve a greyhound's performance or to stop it from winning. In the five months up to 31 May this year - the period before the dismissal of the former control board and the appointment of the new board by me from 1 June - 698 swabs were taken, of which 2.44 per cent proved positive to performance-enhancing or retarding drugs, and 1.72 per cent proved positive to therapeutic drugs. That is a total of 29 positive swabs. In the five months to the end of November - the time under the new board - a total of 805 swabs were taken, an increase of 15 per cent, of which 2.24 per cent proved positive to performance enhancing or retarding drugs, and 1.6 per cent were positive to therapeutic drugs. That is a total of 31 positive swabs. Honourable members can see that although an increase in the number of swabs occurred, there has been a percentage decrease in both categories of positive swabs.
The Greyhound Racing Control Board is also taking action to inform all 10,000 participants in the sport of its policy on drug use. It will do this by sending a special notice to every person in the industry outlining the reasons for drug rules, the categories of prohibited drugs and how the drug rules will be enforced. This information has already been prepared in a special notice and will be sent to everyone in the industry within the next week. I have shown that the new control board is taking every possible action to rid the industry of people who would try to use drugs. The board has already had some positive results, and I expect that as swabbing procedures improve the results will be even greater.
Mr West: On a point of order: although I obviously allowed the Minister to provide the supplementary answer, Standing Order 140(5) indicates that supplementary answers shall be given at the conclusion of, not prior to, a question period. It reads:
Mr SPEAKER: Order! The point of order is upheld.
Ministers seeking to provide additional information to questions already answered at the current or a previous sitting shall do so at the conclusion of the question period.