MEMBER for Wagga, Dr Joe McGirr, has written to the minister in a bid to uncover answers as to why Murrumbidgee Turf Club (MTC) missed out on the state government's $67 million country racing splurge.
The MTC has been left bewildered after it missed out on any of the NSW Government's $67 million investment into country racing, announced in the state budget.
The money has been allocated to help improve country racetracks and increase stabling, with Albury Racing Club ($3 million) and Cootamundra Turf Club ($300,000) two of the winners.
MTC chief executive Steve Keene said the club was extremely disappointed to be left out, given it is shovel ready with it's $6.8 million new stable complex.
Funding has been the only thing stopping the project, which was first earmarked in 2016, from going ahead and would provide stabling to more than 100 horses.
"We're two weeks away from having tender documents ready and construction certificates," Keene said of the project.
"We've been told for a number of years now that the government is looking for shovel ready projects and that's probably what drives the disappointment, that we are shovel ready and the economic impact it will have on both the club and also the Wagga community and businesses that will benefit from this.
"That's probably the most disappointing part is that they didn't see fit to fund it. We're shovel ready and ticked all the boxes that the government were looking for but obviously there was one thing that was missing."
Asked as to what was missing, Keene said that was a question for the relevant authorities.
"That's probably something that Joe (McGirr) and the representatives would have to answer. Racing NSW, I don't think, were privy to who was getting the funding," Keene said.
"That's probably a question for them to answer. People will draw their own conclusions but that's probably not for the club to answer because we don't know that answer."
Dr McGirr also expressed his disappointment with the omission of the MTC from the funding. He has written to the racing minster, Kevin Anderson, asking for answers.
"I have written to the Minister, seeking an explanation as to why the application by the Murrumbidgee Turf Club was overlooked," Dr McGirr said.
"The Wagga Wagga racing fraternity has been left confused by the outcome of the MTC's grant application. The MTC had been in preparation for some time and had received positive feedback from the NSW Racing Authority.
"Additionally, the proposal by the MTC was 'shovel ready', with a development application already approved. This is an important consideration in terms of restarting our economy, which has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. It is something the government has repeatedly emphasised in grants in this period.
"This new stabling complex, once complete, is expected to bring significant financial benefit to Wagga Wagga and the region. I understand that, on the back of the planned development, a number of trainers were considering a relocation to Wagga.
"I am disappointed that the MTC has been overlooked."
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Keene said the MTC would push forward with the project and look at other funding options.
"It's disappointing but we'll keep pushing forward," Keene said.
"We'll have a meeting with the industry in the next month or so to work out where we go from here. But yeah the club's disappointed to go miss out on the money that is being handed out to the industry.
"Good on those other clubs for receiving the money. Hopefully that brings them up to a standard that can one-day rival the MTC."
Overall, 21 venues across the state received funding, including Scone ($20 million) and Muswellbrook ($4.2 million).
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