A new strategic partnership will see the Ballarat Turf Club marketed as Victoria’s new premier facility for training horses.
The sporting organisation will receive $25,000 annually for three years, after City of Ballarat councillors approved a strategic partnership grant at a council meeting on Wednesday night.
In a submission for the grant program, the Ballarat Turf Club stated the partnership would promote the city as a ‘place to train’ in Victoria.
“The potential for growth identified at Ballarat provides significant opportunity for capital investment and employment growth in Ballarat,” Ballarat Turf Club stated.
“As training at metropolitan centres such as Caulfield winds down in coming years, trainers will seek to relocate training businesses. It is imperative that BTC maintain a strong profile as a “Training Centre of Excellence” in the thoroughbred industry.”
It follows an announcement this week that 22 Caulfield trainers will have to relocate to other venues within five years, with horse training at the Melbourne racecourse to cease.
Since 2013, Ballarat has seen an 78 per cent increase in the number of horses trained in the city that jump from the gates, and is now the largest regional training centre in Australia.
Councillor Daniel Moloney, who moved the recommendation, said racing was a “major industry” in the city’s North.
“If 200 extra horses are trained in Ballarat, which is quite possible, it means 69 extra jobs and economically $6.4 million extra for our city,” he said. “It’s important we do what we can to support significant industries.”
All councillors voted in favour of the grant except for Cr Belinda Coates, who said despite the economic benefits there were clear ethical issues and “social harms and economic harm associated with the industry” around gambling.
The Melbourne Racing Club announced on Monday it had entered into a new lease with the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve Trust securing racing at Caulfield, part of which sits on Crown land, for the next 65 years.
An essential requirement of the lease, as directed by the Trust and the state government, was that the community had greater use and access to the Racecourse Reserve.
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