As you will be aware, Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and the Greyhound Owners, Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria (GOTBA) have been in discussion over a range of issues including prizemoney, track maintenance and compliance procedures. Both GRV and GOTBA support the following directions: A thriving sport with more racing and career opportunities for more people and greyhounds at all levels. We also want a strong industry with a clear plan that will allow participants to invest with confidence in their future. And a respected code with the strong, transparent, and accountable welfare and integrity standards expected by the broader community.
It is in this spirit that we are achieving agreement on some key issues, particularly prizemoney. On Friday 27 August, GRV’s Chair, Peita Duncan, announced that the GRV Board had signed off on a $5.3 million increase in prizemoney for 2021-22. This means GRV has now committed to prizemoney of $63.3 million directly for participants over this financial year, a record for any greyhound racing jurisdiction in the world. And the GRV Board will continue to review prizemoney status over the year to identify more potential opportunities to improve returns to participants.
The next step is in your hands. GRV is asking you to review several different options for how this $5.3 million increase can be best shared among all participants via a Survey. You can find more details at www.grv.org.au/pm-survey. Copies of the Survey will be available at your local Club. For assistance with the Survey GRV’s Participant Support Line (PSL) is ready to help. Contact the PSL on 1300 144 360 or send email to [email protected]. The survey will run until 8pm on Tuesday 7 September. The GRV Board will meet on 14 September to consider the structure of the final prize money package. Both GRV and GOTBA are pleased with this outcome following mediation and discussion and both parties are now expecting to have more productive discussions on other issues and how best to work together to help secure the sport’s long-term future.
One example of the future of Victorian greyhound racing is now nearing completion, the Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club redevelopment. This six-million-dollar project is the single biggest undertaking by the sport in Victoria in decades and it will set new benchmarks for future investment in club infrastructure and safe racing. The track design and technology, like automated drop boxes, electric lures, and purpose-built LED lighting, will optimise racing safety. And the upgraded club facilities and super-sized semaphore screen will further strengthen the club as a community hub. Work has proceeded on schedule despite COVID 19. Over the next few weeks, the track sand will be laid down and all key equipment and systems tested. Then we can look forward to trials and a progressive opening prior to the commencement of the Gippsland Racing Carnival at the start of summer.
As a timely reminder of what our sport can achieve working together in the community, I’m very pleased to note that Victorian greyhound racing is prominently represented in the Community Clubs Victoria (CCV) 2019-20 Awards. There were more than 270 nominations across 26 categories from nearly 80 clubs this year, so it was a packed field. Among the finalists are the Sandown Greyhound Racing Club for Best Club Community Involvement and Sale Greyhound Club’s Peter Johnston for Club Manager of the Year. And in the Best Social Inclusion Community Service category is the TAB Great Chase community program, the Red Dog campaign for bushfire support and the Blue Dog campaign for the Police Legacy Remembrance Fund. I congratulate everyone involved from Victoria’s greyhound racing community and look forward to the Community Clubs Victoria Awards being announced on 2 October.
Finally, I again thank everyone for persevering through the current COVID 19 restrictions. Once again it has been a challenge, but we have kept our sport on track. Hopefully we can look forward to opening up for a late Spring and Summer of great racing.