Traralgon is a step closer to the return of its much-loved greyhound racing program thanks to funding from the Victorian Government towards a new U-shape track.
Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula was at Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club on Thursday to confirm the Labor Government’s election commitment to provide $1 million for upgrades to the Traralgon and Cranbourne tracks.
“This investment highlights the economic benefits of greyhound racing not only in Gippsland, but across Victoria,” Minister Pakula said.
“The greyhound racing industry contributes $500 million to Victoria’s economy annually and supports more than 4300 jobs across the state, many in regional areas.”
In November 2018, GRV in conjunction with the Traralgon GRC closed the Traralgon track after an investigation identified that drainage issues had permanently compromised the track.
The new U-shape track will provide a more reliable racing surface.
The GRV Board last week signed off on the proposed track, which was designed by David Allan Consulting with input from Professor David Eager and a team at the University of Technology Sydney, working with the Traralgon GRC and GRV.
The U-shaped track was overwhelmingly favoured during a public consultation process last month. The track is expected to open in the middle of 2020 as a leading greyhound venue created with safe racing at front of mind.
The project is also receiving political support at local level.
“We’re getting on with growing and supporting grassroots greyhound racing right here in the Latrobe Valley while reaffirming our commitment to animal welfare,” said Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing.
“All this ensures that Victoria remains the premier greyhound racing state.”
The new track will feature 450m and 500m starting boxes, modern barriers and a surface that will help reduce injury to greyhounds.
The greyhound racing industry in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland region generates $50 million for the local economy and helps sustain more than 425 full-time equivalent jobs in the region.
Traralgon GRC President, Don Haley said the project would help ensure a prosperous future for greyhound racing in the local region.
“This is an important investment for the Latrobe Valley – it gives our club the opportunity to become one of the state’s premier racing and training centres,” Mr Haley said.
Traralgon could reopen for racing as soon as May 2020.