Victoria’s racing industry remains a big winner out of the Victorian Coalition Government’s 2012-2013 Budget with significant funding available over the next three years to further grow the industry’s $2 billion-plus economic benefits.
The $79.5 million, four year Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) will remain a key plank of the Coalition Government’s economic strategy.
Minister for Racing Dr Denis Napthine said the VRIF, made up of unclaimed wagering dividends and on-course wagering taxes, had already had a significant and positive impact across the three racing codes.
“The Coalition Government strongly supports Victoria’s thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing industries and will continue building on the major economic benefits and 70,000 jobs they deliver to the State.
“In 2011-2012 the Coalition Government has supported many racing infrastructure in partnership with Racing Victoria, Country Racing Victoria and local racing clubs.
“These projects have ranged from mini desalination plants for improved irrigation at Flemington through to enhanced al fresco patron facilities at Shepparton greyhounds.
“We have also been able to support Maryborough Harness Racing Club with its heating/cooling system while Yarra Valley racing is the beneficiary of a $2.6 million redevelopment of its track. Many more projects across the three codes have also been supported.
“As part of VRIF the newly established Raceday Attraction Program (RAP) has helped deliver crowds back to the track including initiatives at Sandown greyhounds, Hamilton harness and Ballarat thoroughbreds that saw massive increases in attendances.
“The Coalition Government will continue to work with clubs and the controlling bodies using the RAP to generate further innovative ways of promoting and enhancing the raceday product.
“The Coalition Government’s support for Victoria’s breeding industries has also been widely welcomed. In the upcoming racing seasons, this funding will start to have a real impact.
“The creation of VOBIS Gold in the thoroughbred industry and enhanced GOBIS (greyhounds) and Vicbred (harness) programs has provided a great deal of confidence in breeding and racing horses or dogs in Victoria,” Dr Napthine said.
Over the four year period the following key priorities are being funded through VRIF:
• At least $30 million for improving racetracks and facilities to deliver high-quality racing and training infrastructure and public facilities that will benefit both the racing industry and local communities;
• $10 million for the breeding and sales industry to further encourage the breeding of racing animals in Victoria and to promote Victorian-based sales of racing horses and greyhounds;
• $4 million for drug research to ensure the integrity of all three racing codes through ongoing research to improve the detection of new and emerging drugs and substances that may be used to affect the performance of racing animals;
• $1 million for the greyhound adoption program to support the retraining and rehousing of racing greyhounds and to better promote the image of greyhound racing;
• $1 million for Living Legends to provide support for the promotion of alternative opportunities for racehorses at the end of their careers, to promote this great tourist attraction and to stimulate a wider interest in Victorian racing; and
• $200,000 for Victorian picnic races, to support essential grass roots racing which provides a training ground for racing participants and important tourism and fundraising opportunities for local communities across Victoria.
“All of these initiatives are aimed not just at improving racing, but at growing the industry, growing the economic benefits from the industry and, importantly, growing the jobs generated by the industry,” Dr Napthine said.