Victorian Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said he became aware of the plan when Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) recently provided him with a consultant’s report entitled Review of State and Regional Facilities, Membership and Governance.
“This report was commissioned in October 2010 under the previous government and is a clear reflection of Labor’s appalling track record of destroying Victoria’s $2.1 billion racing industry particularly in regional areas,” Dr Napthine said.
“Not content with closing down six harness race tracks and one greyhound race track in country Victoria, this report reveals that Labor saw fit to allow plans for further closures to occur.
“The report recommends that ‘the rationalisation of race tracks is considered’, including greyhound race tracks at Horsham, Traralgon, Cranbourne and Warragul.
“Further the report recommends ‘developing a centralised system for the management and operation of tracks and facilities’.
“The instructions given to the consultants were to ‘establish a strategic framework for the rationalisation’ of existing facilities, so it is not suprising that these abhorrent recommendations were made.
“This document is effectively a blue-print that would have allowed Labor to continue killing off country racing by shutting down local greyhound tracks and removing the local administrators.
“The report is not at all in line with the Coalition Government’s policy direction for racing in Victoria.
“I absolutely reject any recommendation to close or downgrade any country racetracks or remove powers from local race clubs. There will be no forced closures, amalgamations or mergers of greyhound tracks under the Coalition Government.
“Unlike Labor, the Coalition Government is committed to supporting all racing codes in Victoria and recognises the important role racing plays in regional economies,” Dr Napthine said.