Regions reap reward of funding program

Regions reap reward of funding program

This article was published in the Newcastle Herald on 18 February 2022.

Almost two thirds of the racetracks around NSW have now been beneficiaries of the NSW Government’s Capital Grants Program since the first project started at Gosford just over three years ago.

The government unveiled the $30 million program in 2018 with the aim to improve animal welfare outcomes and make NSW greyhound tracks safer for dogs, with projects to be overseen by Greyhound Racing NSW.

“The NSW Government is committed to seeing greyhound racing go from strength to strength and we know that animal welfare needs to be front and centre of the future of the sport,” minister for Racing Kevin Anderson said.

“That is why we have invested $30 million into the Greyhound Racing Capital Grants Program to ensure tracks are up to standard.

“We know that a safe industry built around animal welfare is a prosperous industry and one that will continue to operate well into the future.

“I support Greyhound Racing NSW in their efforts to provide first class facilities, driving the minimum track safety standards and upgrading tracks right across NSW.”

While Gosford was the first project, the funding has been spread across the state since 2018, and numerous significant works funded by the program are being planned for the imminent future.

greyhound racing facts
Minister For Racing Kevin Anderson and GRNSW CEO Tony Mestrov at the opening of the Richmond Straight track in April 2021. The new venue has been a big success with participants and fans.

GRNSW CEO Tony Mestrov said works conducted under the Capital Grants Program had been well received across the state.

To give you an overview of the work undertaken since that original anouncement in 2018, here is a basic summary:

Gosford. A complete track upgrade included the removal of the existing track sand, then replacement and reinstatement of track profile and racing surfaces. Fencing was replaced and a safety rail installed.

Wentworth Park. This redevelopment included work on the track profile and starting boxes, safety rail, and parade area.

Gunnedah. Work including the removal of existing track sand and replacement and reinstatement of the track profile and racing surface, a new lure motor, and installation of a safety rail.

Tamworth. Work included establishing a constant camber for the entire bend of no less than 10 per cent and inclusion of a transition onto and out of the bend of no less than 20m. The catching pen was realigned and extended, plus fence padding and a safety rail was installed.

Kempsey. Remediation work included track renovation, lure rail repairs and starting box refurbishment.

Richmond has benefited from several projects, including an extension and upgrade of the Richmond kennel block in 2019, the installation of the state’s first TAB straight track, ushering in a new era for GRNSW, and works commenced in recent days on a track and infrastructure safety upgrade, including the reshaping of the existing circular track and new start positions at 520m and 320m to suit track design, as well as installation of a new lure system for both safe chase and cable lure.

Bathurst now has a new irrigation system with a new pump, master valve and water meter, filter, and town water back-up.

Taree undertook an insulation upgrade and installation of air-conditioning units in kennels.

The Gardens. Newcastle’s track underwent a safety and welfare upgrade in June 2020which included the installation of a safety rail.

Maitland received a safety and welfare upgrade, the removal of undulations in the track surface, and repositioning of the 450m boxes.

Bulli. A new irrigation system was installed including a 100,000-litre water tank, a backflow prevention device, a pump and pump shed, and irrigation lines and controllers for the inner and outer track.

Grafton. The biggest project in GRNSW’s history was completed in 2021.

Among the new features are the latest technology in starting box design, lure and lure rail design, and track lighting design, all safety aids are installed, and the kennel design is the best in the country.

Coonamble. An upgrade to the track surface and boxes was undertaken in 2021, with new box electrics and trip starts installed.

Dubbo. A new electric braking lure motor system and associated infrastructure have been installed.

Temora. The minister visited Temora late last year to see first-hand the work on the club’s new Vet Room.

Casino. The first completed project of 2022 is the new lights at Casino, improving safety for racing competitors and racing officials.

Muswellbrook. Installation of new rail, track surface renovation, and lure upgrade, are expected to be completed later this year.

Thirlmere’s training track will undergo remediation including a new lure rail structure, lure cable and lure rollers, and new lure trolley and hoop arm lure.

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