Racing Stony Creek Community Gippsland South Parliament

Labor washes its hands of Stony Creek

The Melbourne Labor Government is still refusing to do anything to help Stony Creek and other country racing clubs recover lost meetings from Country Racing Victoria (CRV).

The Nationals Member for Gippsland South Danny O’Brien took up the issue with the Racing Minister Martin Pakula during budget estimates hearings this week.

Mr O’Brien said while he fully understood that scheduling was a decision for CRV and Racing Victoria, Labor had an opportunity to step in to assist.

“The Minister refused to say whether he would support these clubs and ruled out doing anything from a budget perspective to help Stony Creek get back its lost meetings,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The Minister seems to think that these clubs will continue to put up with ongoing loss of meetings but I don’t think that’s fair and have made my views clear to the Minister in the past.

“Stony Creek is the only South Gippsland professional club and recently lost a meeting to another club in the state. The club is well supported by South Gippsland locals and it is country clubs such as this that are the heart and soul of Victorian racing.

“It’s so disappointing that the Melbourne Labor Government will do nothing to support these clubs.

“By contrast, when the Coalition Government was in power we actively funded meetings for some of the smaller clubs to keep country racing ticking along.”

Shadow Minister for Racing Tim Bull said the Minister has abandoned smaller clubs.

“He clearly refused to say he would advocate for clubs like Stony Creek and failed to realise that the meetings are not simply going from country club to country club, rather they are going from small country clubs to big provincial clubs and this impacts on the local economies of our towns,” Mr Bull said.

Mr O’Brien said he would continue to work with Stony Creek to ensure it has a strong viable future.

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