Ballarat greyhound club will share a $220,000 boost under a Brumby Labor Government and Victorian racing industry funding partnership, Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Rob Hulls announced today.
During a visit to the Ballarat, Mr Hulls said the club would benefit from funding earmarked as part of a range of projects across the state under the $86 million Regional Racing Infrastructure Fund (RRIF).
“The Brumby Labor Government is taking action to promote Victoria's racing industry,” Mr Hulls said.
He said the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club would receive $116,000 to create a new 390 metre start on the track to allow for races over four distances: 390 metres and the existing distances of 450 metres, 550 metres and 650 metres.
To complement the 390-metre start, $68,000 will be spent on new starting boxes. The project will also upgrade starting boxes for the 450-metre start, as they are over 20 years old.
Mr Hulls said the design of the 390-metre start was undertaken in consultation with industry stakeholders and the new starting boxes would meet all occupational health and safety requirements.
“The starting boxes automatically synchronise with the lure to trigger the opening of the boxes,” Mr Hulls said.
“With their quiet and efficient operation, the boxes contribute to the reliability and safety of race and trial starts.”
The Brumby Labor Government will provide $81,000 for the new 390 metre start and $47,000 for the new starting gates through the RRIF. The remainder will be funded by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV).
Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club Secretary Manager Mr Geoff Knape said “The 390m boxes have already been installed and the new start trip will be installed tomorrow but we won't race out of them at this stage until mid October as we have to get the shelters built”.
“We will be about the only track in Victoria which will have four race distances” said Mr Knape.
Opinion has been divided over the 390m starting boxes and while Greyhound Racing Victoria have an agenda to standardise every track in Victoria, that agenda has been set in stone without widespread consultation and many see the implementation of more short course racing as a step backwards for greyhound racing in Victoria.
In fact Australian Racing Greyhound understand that the implementation of the 390m racing distance was forced upon the Ballarat greyhound club by Greyhound Racing Victoria despite the fact several on the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club committee were against the move.