Somerset Councillor Bob Whalley.
Somerset Councillor Bob Whalley. Ali Kuchel

Council's bold new plan to boost cash, grow country racing

SOMERSET Regional Council will call for the State Government to open its wallet and boost country racing for the good of the region.

The council agreed at its last meeting to write to Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and ask him to provide more funding and marketing for country racing.

Councillor Bob Whalley led the charge and cited the New South Wales' government's efforts to boost regional meetings.

Cr Whalley said NSW had allocated tourism and marketing funding in a push to drive more people to rural parts of the state.

Somerset Regional Council unanimously endorsed a plan to write to Mr Hinchliffe and ask for similar efforts to be made in Queensland.

"Racing has been a passion of mine for many years,” Cr Whalley said.

"What we're after is economic development within the regions.

"Racing is a great platform to do that.”

Cr Whalley said the region's racing clubs provided important social engagement between communities.

"If you increase prize-money and get a carnival happening and get Tourism Queensland on board to promote these events we're going to get people staying in beds in our regions overnight,” he said.

"It's as simple as that.”

Somerset Regional Council has spent the almost $1 million rebuilding the grandstand facility at Kilcoy Racing Club.

It is expected to be open by about December this year.

"We're keen to drive, in whichever way we can, economic development in the region,” he said.

"Racing clubs are saying more money is going to benefit them.”

Cr Whalley said recent investment in racing clubs had made a difference.

"Kilcoy has gone from six meetings to nine full TAB meetings,” he said.

"Esk has recently been granted money to improve watering facilities for their track to push for more meetings.

"The more meetings, the better social engagement through our towns.

"If we create a carnival with this and push tourism the economic spin-off to every business in town is great.”

Cr Whalley said the region's farriers, vets and feed merchants would all benefit.



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