REGION - The Grampians Halls Gap Cup to be run next Tuesday at the Ararat Racecourse will be used to thank the region's emergency services workers with the assistance of a Victorian Coalition Government grant.
Premier and Minister for Racing Denis Napthine said the efforts of emergency services workers and local communities in responding to the recent bushfires in northern Grampians and surrounds was nothing short of exceptional.
"The Coalition Government and Stawell Racing Club want to recognise these efforts by providing free entry to the Halls Gap Cup for all emergency services workers as well as residents of communities affected by the bushfires," Dr Napthine said.
"The constant bushfire threat highlights the risk we all face and the need to band together with community events like the Halls Gap Cup Bushfire Recovery Raceday."
The grant will allow the club to offer all emergency services personnel as well as residents of Northern Grampians communities affected by the fire the following benefits: free entry; a complimentary race book; a complimentary Grampians Halls Gap Cup Bushfire Recovery Raceday drink holder; a free barbecue and a special enclosure for emergency services personnel and their families.
In addition, a free return bus service from Halls Gap will be put on for the day.
Stawell Racing Club chairman Gary Mussett said the club was delighted to show support to the communities that were affected by both the Grampians and Black Range bushfires.
"The bushfires had an enormous impact on communities across a wide area and the Stawell Racing Club is only too pleased to partner with the Coalition Government and Northern Grampians Shire Council to assist with the recovery effort," Mr Mussett said.
Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay said the Victorian Government had contributed $8,550 towards the event through the Victorian Racing Industry Fund's Raceday Attraction Program, with the Stawell Racing Club providing $3,180.
"The Halls Gap Cup raceday was originally scheduled to be run last month, but was postponed by Racing Victoria due to the extreme heat," Mr Ramsay said.
"With this rescheduling, a great opportunity was provided to put on this special event. I congratulate the Stawell Racing Club for their prompt work in organising the race day and delivering for local communities and emergency services personnel."