Racing Victoria (RV) welcomes today’s announcement that, if elected this November, a Liberal Nationals Government will make a significant investment in facilities at Ballarat Racecourse.
A review of the state’s synthetic racetrack footprint, completed this year by RV, identified Ballarat as a preferred future location alongside the existing synthetic track at Pakenham.
The Liberal Nationals today committed to invest $5 million, if elected, into the construction of a 1900-metre synthetic track that will be utilised for both racing and training at Ballarat Racecourse from mid-2019. The Liberal Nationals’ investment would be matched by RV, Country Racing Victoria (CRV) and the Ballarat Turf Club (BTC) to complete the major infrastructure project.
The Liberal Nationals also committed, if elected, to maintaining the Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) which supports investment in key industry projects, programs and initiatives including upgrades to racing, training and customer facilities across the state.
RV has welcomed the Liberal Nationals’ commitment as an important investment in the future of the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry which generates over $3 billion annually for the Victorian economy and supports the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs.
RV Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, said: “We welcome this election commitment from the Liberal Nationals to support the development of the synthetic racetrack at Ballarat and I want to acknowledge Shadow Racing Minister, Tim Bull, for his efforts in driving this outcome.
“Given the climate in Victoria, synthetic racetracks are crucial during our winter months in ensuring that race meetings can proceed as programmed, whilst also helping to manage the workload on our turf racetracks when their growth is limited.
“A vibrant and successful thoroughbred racing industry is great for Victoria and the Liberal Nationals’ commitment to maintain the Victorian Racing Industry Fund is an important step to achieving that through investments back into the industry, particularly around infrastructure, customer facilities, safety and welfare.
“The Victorian Racing Industry Fund has returned the proceeds of unclaimed TAB dividends and on-course wagering taxes back to racing and provided, on average, $18 million per year over the last four years to Victoria’s three racing codes for investment into key projects, programs and initiatives.
“The fund is critical not only to Racing Victoria in successfully managing the thoroughbred racing industry, but to our race clubs right across the state to ensure that they can provide the best possible facilities and events for their local community and participants.”
Subject to funding, racing is scheduled to commence on the Ballarat synthetic racetrack, which will replace the current inner turf racetrack, in May 2019.