Dr Napthine said the vision for the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club (BGRC) was to develop a world-class racing and dining venue that could be enjoyed by the entire Ballarat community all year round.
The Victorian Coalition Government will provide $1.35 million in funding for the total track redevelopment, with Greyhound Racing Victoria providing $1.7 million and the BGRC providing $150,000.
“Greyhound racing is already hugely popular with local trainers, families and racing enthusiasts, but after decades of running a very busy racing schedule, the time has come to take the region’s racing facilities into the future,” Dr Napthine said.
“The unrivalled strength of the Victorian greyhound industry continues to grow, with Ballarat to join the likes of Geelong, Bendigo, Sandown and the Meadows as a world-class racing facility.
“Major works will include developing a world-leading Burrumbeet sand racing surface, a new lure system, split timing and semaphore board, new lighting and fencing and a water-saving irrigation system to ensure the track remains in the safest, quickest condition.
“There will also be an overhaul of the judges’ tower and installation of an on-course television broadcast facility.
“The multi-million dollar redevelopment will also see an overhaul of spectator facilities including a full upgrade of the kitchen and bar area, improved disability access, enhanced outdoor viewing areas and a more welcoming covered foyer.
”Importantly, this multi-function facility will be made available to the whole Ballarat community outside race days for weddings, parties, anything!” Dr Napthine said.
GRV Chairman Peter Caillard said Ballarat was one of the main provincial strongholds for greyhound racing in this Victoria.
“Greyhounds have been racing at Morshead Park since the 1970s and after 34 years the track is due for a major upgrade, including a brand new track plus a refurbished grandstand and judges’ tower,” Mr Caillard said.
“This $3.2 million project includes a $1.3 million contribution from the Victorian Government, and the upgrade to facilities includes a welcoming new entrance into the grandstand, which will make Morshead Park a more viable option as a multi-function centre.
“We are grateful for the continued support we receive from the Victorian Government to ensure that interest in our sport and employment opportunities remain strong,” Mr Caillard said.
Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club Manager Ken Bennett thanked the Victorian Government and Greyhound Racing Victoria for their support.
“These improvements will enable the Ballarat Greyhound Racing Club to supply quality racing to the market,” Mr Bennett said.
“The club members, club patrons and the community will have an entertainment complex of a high standard that will be used every week of the year to enjoy greyhound racing at its best.
“I personally thank GRV CEO John Stephens and Minister Denis Napthine for their support to enable this program to become a reality,” Mr Bennett said.
Dr Napthine said the Victorian Government was committed to ensuring the local greyhound racing industry continued to lead the world.
“The local industry is truly being revolutionised into a world leader with another sensational new track soon to come online at Ballarat,” Dr Napthine said.
“Greyhound racing is not just an exciting sport but also a significant contributor to Victoria’s economy.
“The local industry provides an economic benefit of $200 million to the State every year, employing 1,600 Victorians,” Dr Napthine said.