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Our money's on you

Jockeys head for the mounting yard at the Dingo racecourse, as race clubs around the region battle to stay afloat.
Jockeys head for the mounting yard at the Dingo racecourse, as race clubs around the region battle to stay afloat.

ANY money is good money - that's the verdict Dingo Race Club president Jeff Olive has given following the LNP announcement it would commit $1 million a year for an additional 20 country race meets across the state.

Like many race clubs throughout the Central Highlands, Dingo is struggling just to recoup its losses, let alone make ends meet.

They have the track, they have the facilities but only one allocated race meet a year.

Olive said they're feeling the pinch of every purse string that tightens in the country racing industry.

"It's costing us to run a race day," Olive said.

"We're losing about $3000 to $4000 each year.

"We used to have five meets a year back in the early 2000s, then went it back to two and now we've got one.

"We've got the track up to scratch and we would like to have more (meets).

"But without the sponsorship we'd be buggered."

LNP leader Campbell Newman said he understood the challenges facing country clubs and their desire for better support.

"Given the right settings, sensible policies and some encouragement, the LNP will ensure country racing has a real future," Newman said.

Clermont Race Club treasurer Dave King said they too had battled their own set of challenges racing in the bush.

King said considerable funds had been spent to bring the track in line with the standards required by Racing Queensland, but more needed to be done to attract greater nominations to the region.

"The biggest issue for us is prizemoney," King said.

"We've got to raise around $20,000 twice a year for each meet, and when you're competing with all the other clubs in a small town, it's tough."

It's good news for King, with Newman vowing the LNP was "determined" to revitalise the country racing industry.

"The LNP is determined to encourage more race meetings with more horses, more trainers and more people attending," Newman said.

"Without country racing where would our horses and jockeys get a start?

"This is why our million-dollar per year incentive plan is a good start."

However, the Regional Economies Minister Tim Mulherin said there was little clarification as to the source of this million-dollar proposal.

"What we want to know is, where will this money come from?" Mulherin said.

"I want to know, are they getting into the practice of 'now governments should be subsidising prizemoney'?"


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