The Andrews Labor Government will keep Victorian racing strong by bolstering the Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF), investing $86 million in racing and training venues across the State.
The funding boost was confirmed as part of the 2015-16 Victorian Budget, fulfilling the Labor Government’s election promise to renew the VRIF for a further four years. It includes $72 million in new funding, and $14 million unspent since the fund commenced.
Victoria is the proud leader of Australian racing, generating more than $2.8 billion in economic activity and supporting more than 26,500 full time jobs.
Country racing alone contributes almost $940 million in annual economic output, and regional Victoria is home to around 80 per cent of trainers and breeders.
The Government will maintain an ongoing focus on:
> Integrity and governance programs to strengthen the codes’ capacity to deal with increasing challenges
> Upgrades to infrastructure and facilities, particularly in regional areas, to encourage people back to the track
> Raceday attraction programs showcasing local Victorian produce and stimulating tourism
Resources in the Office of Racing will also be bolstered to improve how the fund operates, ensuring quicker turnaround times and giving the industry better access to advice and support in submitting applications.
The VRIF returns unclaimed wagering dividends and on-course wagering taxes back to the industry and allows the three racing codes, racing clubs and other key stakeholders to have a say in growing Victorian racing.
It funds projects and initiatives at tracks across Victoria, supporting jobs, improving animal and participant safety, increasing integrity measures and boosting the raceday experience for racegoers.
Since coming to government in November last year, some of the key projects funded by Labor include:
> $5 million towards state of the art lighting at Pakenham to make it the third night racing venue in Victoria
> $200,000 to improve drug testing in racing by building Victoria’s first dedicated cobalt testing lab
> Fencing upgrades at Donald and Bairnsdale
> Raceday attractions including the Multicultural Raceday at Werribee, Anzac Day Races at Avoca, and Australia Day races at tracks across regional Victoria