Over $1M is available from the Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) to support projects that will improve racing and training infrastructure, as well as patrons’ facilities.
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Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF)
The renewed Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) will provide funding support to the Victorian racing industry to strengthen the sustainability and growth of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing.
Racing is a major economic driver for Victoria, generating more than $2.8 billion annually. More than 114,000 Victorians are directly involved in the racing industry with nearly two-thirds of all racing participants residing in regional Victoria.
VRIF funding will be provided over four years, commencing on 1 July 2015. The fund is administered by the Minister for Racing and managed through the Office of Racing, Department of Justice and Regulation.
The objective of the VRIF is to support the long-term growth of the Victorian racing industry, thereby fostering stronger economic benefits and jobs across the state arising from racing and its associated industries.
In addition to meeting current funding commitments, the following key priorities will be funded through the Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF):
- A total of $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;
- $2 million to support the continuation of jumps racing in Victoria by boosting prize money and attracting international involvement in Victorian jumps racing;
- $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.
Funding for the Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) accrues from two sources:
- unclaimed wagering (totalisator) dividends; and
- on-course wagering (totalisator) taxes.
VRIF – Racing Infrastructure
Support for racing infrastructure is essential for the ongoing operation and growth of the racing industry and its substantial economic benefits to Victoria.
The Racing Infrastructure fund assists all three Victorian racing codes and their race clubs to improve racing and training infrastructure, as well as patrons’ facilities.
A minimum of $30 million will be provided over four years for these purposes.
Eligible projects include racing and training infrastructure works that are aligned with industry strategic plans and support longer-term objectives of racing clubs and the industry.
Priority will be given to projects that have matching financial contributions (50/50 split) from the applicant. This can include in-kind contributions from the club and/or from other funding sources (e.g. local council, other venue users, club sponsors).
Recurrent expenditure, such as day-to-day operational costs, will not be considered. Funding will not be considered for expenditure that is considered part of an organisation’s regular and ongoing budgetary expense.
For significant capital works projects, applications must be accompanied by a detailed project plan, including written quotes and where necessary, tender procedure.
VRIF – Picnic Racing Clubs
Picnic Racing is an important element of Victoria’s racing industry providing opportunities to many racing participants including those at an amateur level. It also caters for crowds in the many thousands and helps support regional economies.
The Picnic Racing Clubs fund is open to all Victorian thoroughbred picnic racing clubs. $200,000 will be provided over four years and is subject to an annual funding round that is open from 1 July to 31 August.
Picnic clubs may apply for funding for capital works (including improvements to facilities for patrons) or for marketing and promotional purposes.
As the Picnic Racing Clubs funding stream is capped at $50,000 per annum, picnic clubs undertaking larger infrastructure works are encouraged to discuss their application with the Office of Racing and apply for funding through the VRIF – Racing Infrastructure stream.
VRIF – Raceday Attraction Program
The Raceday Attraction Program (RAP) supports initiatives aimed at increasing on-course attendance and promotion of the three racing codes. By increasing attendance and interest in racing, the industry is better placed to continue growing into the future.
Priority will be given to submissions that include matching financial contributions (including in-kind contributions) and which demonstrate the innovative nature of the proposal, outline the expected customer experience and outline the level of support from the local community.
Recurrent expenditure, such as day-to-day operational costs and standard race day activities, will not be considered.
Other VRIF Funding Streams
In addition to the above three VRIF funding programs, there are five other funding streams available to specific racing industry participants.
The following initiatives do not have specific application forms, but applicants must include a detailed project plan and a copy of the current business plan of the organisation, as part of their submission.
Submissions should also clearly set out the timing of funding requirements for the project. Annual project reports will be required as part of the funding agreement.
VRIF – Breeding and Sales
Victoria is a great state in which to breed, own or race a horse or greyhound. The breeding industries of all three codes provide enormous economic benefits and jobs to the State, particularly in rural and regional areas.
The Government will provide $10 million over four years to boost the already successful VOBIS, GOBIS and VicBred schemes. These schemes provide significant prize money incentives for the owners and breeders of horses and greyhounds bred and/or sold in Victoria. These schemes also provide incentive to racehorses and greyhounds in Victoria.
VRIF – Greyhound Adoption Program
Animal welfare is a key aspect of any successful racing industry. The Government will provide $1 million over four years to assist the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) to retrain and rehouse more dogs.
GAP plays a critical role in promoting the greyhound as a companion animal, providing a positive option for dogs at the conclusion of their racing careers and generally enhancing the image of greyhound racing.
VRIF – Jumps Racing
Jumps racing is an important element of Victoria’s racing industry providing additional opportunities to horses, jockeys, trainer and owners. The Government will provide $2 million funding over four years for programs aimed at improving safety measures and boosting prize money for jumps racing.
There is also a focus on growing Warrnambool Grand Annual May Racing Carnival, with the aim to increase both local and international support for the Carnival and the economic benefits arising from that growth.
VRIF – Living Legends
The Government will provide $1 million over four years to support the further development of Living Legends and more effective promotion of its facilities as a significant tourism destination.
Stronger promotion of Living Legends and its champion retired racehorses has the capacity to stimulate a wider interest in Victorian racing and to promote the welfare of racehorses at the conclusion of their racing careers.
VRIF – Racing Analytical Services Limited
Victoria is renowned for its commitment to drug free racing. The Government will provide $4 million to Racing Analytical Services Limited (RASL) to support additional research and to enable the organisation to grow its capacity to detect new and emerging drugs and substances that may be used to affect the performance of racing animals. This commitment will further enhance public confidence in the integrity of Victoria’s drug testing program.
The following organisations are eligible to apply for a VRIF Grant:
- Racing Victoria Limited
- Country Racing Victoria
- Harness Racing Victoria
- Greyhound Racing Victoria
- Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs
- Racing clubs licensed under section 24A of the Racing Act 1958 (including HRV Management Limited (trading as Tabcorp Park) and racing clubs registered as part of the Wimmera Racing Club)
- Racing clubs licensed by Racing Victoria Limited as a picnic racing club
- Racing clubs licensed by Harness Racing Victoria as a graduation club
Associated racing industry bodies and stakeholders (e.g. Victorian Jockeys’ Association, Australian Trainers’ Association (Victorian Branch), Racing Analytical Services Limited) may also apply for VRIF funding, subject to written evidence of consultation and support from the relevant controlling body.
The Andrews Labor Government is investing in a major upgrade of the Mornington Racecourse with a new all-weather synthetic training track.
Minister for Racing Martin Pakula today announced that the Labor Government is providing almost $1.38 million from its Victorian Racing Industry Fund towards the $2.75 million project.
The new synthetic track will replace the sand training track and provide long-term benefits for the club and its trainers, with more gallops, jump outs and trials to be conducted on the new surface.
The all-weather surface will allow training to occur all year round and provide a more consistent training surface. The existing track base and drainage will support the new synthetic track, which will be the same dimensions as the old sand track – 1730 metres in length and eight metres wide.
The upgrade will save the club around $15,000 on water each year as the new synthetic surface can be used and maintained with minimal watering.
The works are expected to be completed by September this year and the club will endeavour to minimise the impact on training during the construction.
The Melbourne Racing Club conducts 18 race meetings and 40 jump outs each year at Mornington, with around 86 trainers and 440 horses using the track to train. The current sand training track was installed 12 years ago and is no longer suitable for training.
Racing Victoria is providing $962,500 towards the track upgrade and the Melbourne Racing Club is contributing $412,500.
Since 2014, the Labor Government has provided almost $1.84 million to support six infrastructure projects and five race day events at Mornington Racecourse.
The racing industry in the outer Melbourne region generates more than $375 million for the Victorian economy annually and helps to sustain more than 3720 full-time equivalent jobs in the region.