Racing safety fund proves popular

  • Winston Peters

The government’s new Racing Safety Development Fund is proving popular, with 16 applications lodged for the first round of funding, Racing Minister Winston Peters said today.

The contestable fund provides $1 million per annum to match dollar-for-dollar contributions from racing clubs for projects that enhance the safety, and therefore raise the quality, of racecourse facilities.

“I’m delighted with the very positive level of initial interest in the fund,” Mr Peters said.

“The 16 applications are seeking around $500,000 in funding, which means there will be at least $500,000 available for the second round of applications, which opens on 1 February.

“An industry working group has been set up to consider funding applications. Christchurch businessman and owner/breeder Bruce Martin, a former member of the Casino Control Authority, has been appointed as chair, while Graeme Hansen, Campbell Moncur, Pat O’Brien and Jeremy Kennerley have been appointed as industry representatives.

“The working group has a sound knowledge of the industry’s safety and infrastructure requirements, and I am confident they will do an excellent job.”

Mr Peters said the working group would assess applications against a broad set of criteria that consider a project’s safety benefits; the improvements it makes to racecourse facilities; whether it adds to the facilities’ appeal as a community asset; whether it complements industry strategies for infrastructure development; its cost effectiveness and viability; its geographical benefits and proximity to other applications; and the nature and progress of required prior consents or consultations.