MEMBERS STATEMENT | HORSERACING

Mr Melhem: I rise to congratulate Racing Victoria on its recent announcement of a $25 million plan to improve the welfare of Victorian thoroughbred racehorses with an immediate focus on the wellbeing of post-racing horses. The program will include a statewide rehoming program for retired thoroughbreds, investment in post-racing career options for racehorses and better access to humane euthanasia in necessary circumstances. There will also be greater oversight of breeding practices in Victoria to ensure that we are reducing the number of thoroughbreds ending up in disturbing circumstances. Racing Victoria has called on those within the racing industry to step up and has emphasised that it is a responsibility of everyone in the sector to treat all thoroughbreds with the humanity they deserve. Those that are found in breach of Victoria’s animal welfare rules should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The $25 million plan over three years will be funded from increased investment by Racing Victoria and an increase in the industry’s prizemoney contribution from 1 per cent to 2 per cent. The Victoria Racing Club will also give 10 per cent of next week’s spring carnival ticket sales to the fund. As an avid racing attendee and an occasional punter, I am very proud to represent two of the largest racecourses in Victoria, Moonee Valley Racecourse and Flemington Racecourse. The racing industry contributes so much to the economy and culture of Victoria. With the Cox Plate last weekend and Derby Day and Melbourne Cup Day fast approaching, it is the perfect time to reflect on where the champions of racing will retire to and the fact that we all have a responsibility to ensure that post-racing thoroughbreds are treated with the respect they deserve.