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Victorian Racing Industry Fund guidelines and application forms

The Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) provides grants to the Victorian racing industry for improvements at racing and training venues and for selected programs designed to further stimulate industry growth and development.

Grants are determined by the Minister for Racing and managed through the Office of Racing, Department of Justice and Regulation.

The VRIF is now using the SmartyGrants online grants management system.

To apply for VRIF funding using the SmartyGrants system, you will be required to register. If you have previously registered your organisation in SmartyGrants, you will not be required to do so again. Please check to see if your organisation has an existing account in the system. If you have forgotten the password follow the prompts on the registration/login page.

Prior to commencing your application you are strongly encouraged to read the VRIF Guidelines.

VRIF Program Guidelines

1. About the Victorian Racing Industry Fund

1.1 What is the Victorian Racing Industry Fund?

The renewed Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF) will provide funding support to the Victorian racing industry to strengthen the sustainability and growth of thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing.

Racing is a major economic driver for Victoria, generating more than $2.8 billion annually. More than 114,000 Victorians are directly involved in the racing industry with  nearly 2/3 of all racing participants residing in regional Victoria.

VRIF funding will be provided over 4 years, commencing on 1 July 2015. The fund is administered by the Minister for Racing and managed through the Office of Racing, Department of Justice and Regulation.

1.2 Where does the funding for the VRIF come from?

Funding for the VRIF accrues from 2 sources:

  • unclaimed wagering (totalisator) dividends
  • on-course wagering (totalisator) taxes

1.3 What is the objective of the VRIF?

Unclaimed Wagering Dividends

Unclaimed wagering dividends will be returned to the racing industry over 4 years with the following objectives:

  • continue to improve the quality and safety of racing and training infrastructure, particularly in country Victoria
  • continue to improve the standard of public facilities at Victorian racing venues
  • provide ongoing support for the breeding industries across the 3 racing codes
  • increased focus on the welfare of racing animals
  • support the wellbeing of jockeys and trainers and other industry participants.
On-course Wagering Taxes

On-course wagering taxes will be returned to the racing industry over 4 years with the objective of attracting patrons to race meetings and developing sustainable growth opportunities to support the viability of the racing industry.

The Raceday Attraction Program will support projects and initiatives aimed at increasing on-course attendance at Victorian thoroughbred, harness and greyhound race meetings.  

1.4 Who is eligible to apply for a VRIF Grant?

The following organisations are eligible to apply for a VRIF Grant:

  • Racing Victoria Limited
  • Country Racing Victoria
  • Harness Racing Victoria
  • Greyhound Racing Victoria
  • Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs
  • Racing clubs licensed under section 24A of the Racing Act 1958 (including HRV Management Limited (trading as Tabcorp Park) and racing clubs registered as part of the Wimmera Racing Club)
  • Racing clubs licensed by Racing Victoria Limited as a picnic racing club
  • Racing clubs licensed by Harness Racing Victoria as a graduation club 

Associated racing industry bodies and stakeholders (e.g. Victorian Jockeys’ Association, Australian Trainers’ Association (Victorian Branch), Racing Analytical Services Limited) may also apply for VRIF funding, subject to written evidence of consultation and support from the relevant controlling body.

1.5 Where can I find the application forms?

The VRIF is now using the SmartyGrants online grants management system.

The VRIF SmartyGrants application forms can be found below. You will have the option of applying for funding for both the Racing Infrastructure and Raceday Attraction Program funding streams.

Once you have selected the appropriate funding stream, you will be required to login either as an existing SmartyGrants user or register your details if you are a new user. Once logged on, you can start a new submission or update an existing application that you have not yet submitted.

If you have forgotten you SmartyGrants password just follow the prompts on the registration/login page.

2. Applying for funding through the VRIF

2.1 Which stream of the VRIF should I apply through?

There are 4 VRIF funding streams:

  • Racing Infrastructure (via online application form)
  • Raceday Attraction Program (via online application form)
  • Breeding and Sales (written submission with supporting documentation)
  • General VRIF Fund (written submission with supporting documentation)
Racing Infrastructure

Support for racing infrastructure is essential for the ongoing operation and growth of the racing industry and its substantial economic benefits to Victoria.

The Racing Infrastructure stream assists all 3 Victorian racing codes and their race clubs to improve racing and training infrastructure as well as upgrading patron facilities. At least $30 million will be provided over 4 years for these purposes.

Eligible projects include works that are strongly aligned with industry strategic plans and support long-term industry objectives.

Priority will be given to projects that have a matching financial contribution (50/50 split) from the applicant, which can include in-kind works from the club and volunteers and/or from other funding sources (e.g. local council, other venue users, club sponsors etc.).

Applicants seeking a Racing Infrastructure grant of $1 million or more are required to submit a detailed business case to support their application (refer to section 3.4 for details regarding business case requirements).

Raceday Attraction Program

The Raceday Attraction Program (RAP) supports initiatives aimed at increasing on-course attendance and promotion of the 3 racing codes. By increasing attendance and interest in racing, the industry will be better placed to continue growing into the future.

Applicants will be required to outline the expected customer experience, how the proposal is aligned with industry strategic plans and how it supports the long-term objectives of the racing club and industry to promote return attendance to race meetings.

Proposals that engage with local community organisations and sporting groups, creates links with the region and develops tourism opportunities are strongly encouraged.

Priority will be given to projects that have a matching financial contribution (50/50 split) from the applicant, which can include in-kind works from the club and volunteers and/or from other funding sources (e.g. local council, other venue users, club sponsors etc.).

Consideration may also be given to projects that develop strategic marketing plans and undertake research to improve raceday attendances and to support any projects or initiatives that grow and develop Victoria’s racing industry.

Applicants seeking a RAP grant of $1 million or more are required to submit a detailed business case to support their application (refer to section 3.4 for details regarding business case requirements).

Breeding and Sales

Victoria is a great state in which to breed, own or race a horse or greyhound. The breeding industries of all 3 codes provide significant economic and employment benefits to the State, particularly in rural and regional areas.

The VRIF will provide $10 million over 4 years for projects and initiatives that improves animal welfare and supports responsible breeding and sales practices.

As a result of Greyhound Racing Victoria’s (GRV) decision to end the current Greyhound Owners and Breeders Incentive Scheme (GOBIS), GRV will be required to work with the Government to ensure that the GOBIS funds are redistributed to initiatives to improve animal welfare programs, encourage sustainable breeding and improve the retirement and re-homing of greyhounds after racing.   

Racing Victoria Limited and Harness Racing Victoria must also submit a written proposal to the Office of Racing outlining the expected benefits and outcomes of their existing owners and breeders schemes and how the proposal is aligned with industry strategic plans.

All submissions must provide evidence of consultation with the relevant owners and breeders associations.

General VRIF Fund

Projects and initiatives that support the long-term growth of the Victorian racing industry may be considered for funding from the General VRIF Fund.

Proposals that could be considered may include, but are not limited to:

  • animal welfare programs
  • participant welfare programs (e.g. jockeys and trainers)
  • integrity support
  • research programs
  • digital strategies.

Proposals may be submitted by any eligible applicant, associated racing industry body or key stakeholder.

Applicants must provide a written submission that clearly outlines the expected benefits and outcomes and how the proposal is aligned with industry strategic plans. Evidence of consultation with the relevant controlling body must be provided as part of any proposal.

2.2 When can I apply for funding?

Applications can be made at any time for the following programs:

  • Racing Infrastructure
  • Breeding and Sales
  • General VRIF Fund
Raceday Attraction Program

RAP applications must be submitted at least 6 months before the scheduled event date to enable sufficient time for applicants to promote their event to a wider audience.

Applicants may be considered within the 6 month timeframe, subject to a request from the applicant to the Office of Racing.

Applications will be reviewed by the RAP Advisory Committee on the first Thursday of every month to review applications.

To allow sufficient time for the RAP Advisory Committee to review and assess the applications, all applications mus tbe submitted by 5pm on the Friday preceding the scheduled meeting date.

Applications received after the scheduled closing time will be deferred to the following month's meeting unless special circumstances apply as determined by the Office of Racing.

Monthly Meeting RAP Event Month
January July
February August
March September
April October
May November
June December
July January
August February
September March
October April
November May
December June

2.3 What will not be funded through the VRIF?

VRIF funding will not be considered for recurrent expenditure, such as day-to-day operational costs, or expenses that are considered part of an organisation’s regular and ongoing budgetary expenses (e.g. routine building or track maintenance, standard office equipment, standard raceday costs and expenses).

2.4 Can I apply for funding for more than one project?

There is no limit on the number of VRIF applications that can be made. However, a separate application must be submitted for each funding proposal.

2.5 Can I claim GST as part of the funding?

All VRIF grants are approved exclusive of GST.

GST Registered Organisations

It is important that project costs outlined in the application do not include GST.

However, applicants that are GST registered are entitled to claim the GST in addition to the approved grant amount.

If a VRIF application is approved, grant payments made to GST registered organisations will have GST added to the grant amount - provided the supplier is also GST registered.

For example, if the VRIF Grant is $10,000, the total payment will be $11,000. (VRIF Grant of $10,000, plus GST of $1,000).

Organisations not registered for GST

Organisations that are not registered for GST are still eligible to receive VRIF funding.

It is important that project costs outlined in the application include GST.

If a VRIF application is approved, grant payments that are made to non-GST registered organisations will not have GST added to the grant amount.

For example, if the VRIF Grant is $10,000, the total payment will be $10,000.

(VRIF Grant of $10,000 with no GST).

3. Conditions that apply to all applications

3.1 What procurement guidelines do I need to follow?

All applicants that have a project or initiative funded through the VRIF must adhere to Victorian Government procurement policies and guidelines.

The Public Sector Procurement: Turnings Principles into Practice (external link) guide was developed to assist Victorian public sector agencies with their procurement activities.

It is recommended that applicants refer to the information in this document prior to any application.

Goods and Services

When purchasing goods and services, the implementation of funded projects are guided by the Victorian Government Purchasing Board policies and processes that are available on the Procurement website (external link)

Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP)

In circumstances where funding from the Victorian Government exceeds specified amounts, the Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP) will also apply to VRIF projects and initiatives.

The VIPP aims to boost employment and business growth in Victoria by encouraging companies to consider engaging local sub-contractors as part of the tender process for major projects. VIPP requirements will apply where VRIF grants are:

  • $3 million or more in metropolitan Melbourne
  • $1 million or more in regional Victoria.

Where VIPP applies, successful tenders must follow the procedures as required by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR).

Further information on the VIPP can be obtained via the DEDJTR website (external link).

3.2 How many quotes should I include with my application?

Applicants must submit the required number of quotes (or undertake a public tender process) in accordance with Victorian Government procurement policies and guidelines and any Ministerial Directions. The number of required quotes will depend on the estimated cost of each project component.

The following thresholds apply:

Estimated purchase value Minimum requirement
Up to $2,000 1 written or verbal quote
Between $2,000 and $49,999 1 written quote
Between $50,000 and $249,999 3 written quotes
$250,000 or greater Tenders must be sought from at least 3 pre-qualified contractors, or tenders sought by public advertisement

 

The above requirements apply in all circumstances unless the Minister for Racing certifies in writing that special circumstances apply.

If applicants consider that the above requirements are not appropriate or relevant for their project, specific approval must be sought in writing from the Minister for Racing as part of the application process (refer to Section 4 of the Racing Infrastructure application and Section 7 for Raceday Attraction Program application).

For example, in thoroughbred racing the industry standard plastic running rails are only made by one supplier in Victoria. The preferred rails provide a consistent presentation of infrastructure for participants at Victorian racetracks.

It is recommended applicants contact the Office of Racing to discuss the circumstances of their project prior to submitting a request seeking an exemption from the Victorian Government procurement policies and guidelines and any Ministerial Directions.

3.3 Do I need to disclose potential conflicts of interest

The Victorian Government purchasing guidelines are based on principles that include transparency and accountability, value for money and open and fair competition. The Office of Racing must ensure that all conflicts of interest are identified, disclosed and rigorously managed.

A conflict of interest is a situation in which someone in a position of trust or influence has competing professional or personal interests.

For example, in the context of VRIF funded projects, a conflict of interest may arise where a committee member or employee of a club has a personal interest, owns shares in or controls a business that is selected by the club to supply goods or services for one or more project components. A conflict may also exist where spouses or family members of committee members or club employees have any of these interests.

Applicants must advise the Office of Racing of any real or perceived conflict of interest relating to a project for which it has applied for VRIF funding. Applicants must clearly demonstrate how the proposed project costs represent value for money and detail how the conflict will be managed. This may include obtaining additional quotes to confirm that the quotes provided by conflicted businesses demonstrate value for money.

Should the applicant be unable to satisfy the Office of Racing that a conflict has been appropriately managed, the Office of Racing will require the applicant to choose another supplier or withdraw its application until the matter has been resolved.

3.4 Do I need to submit a business case to support my application?

Applicants seeking VRIF funding of $1 million or more for any project or initiative must submit a detailed business case in support of the application.

The business case should be sufficiently detailed to demonstrate the need for the project, its economic viability and the benefits to the applicant, the Victorian racing industry and the broader community. The business case, as a minimum, must include:

  • the specific purpose of the project
  • details of the business need for the project, including background information
  • the objectives and scope of the project
  • a detailed cost-benefit analysis
  • a risk assessment (including a SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats analysis)
  • applicant experience at managing and delivering similar projects
  • accountabilities for project management and project deliverables
  • key deliverables, including a timeline for important dates and milestones
  • jobs created during the construction phase of a project
  • ongoing jobs sustained following the completion of the project  
  • details of VRIF funding sought
  • written confirmation of all funding sources
  • demonstrated compliance with Victorian Government procurement policies and guidelines (as detailed in sections 3.1, 3.2 and 3.3)
  • evidence of industry support for the project
  • evidence of community support for the project

3.4 How should the government's contribution to the project be recognised?

The Victorian Government Branding Guidelines outlines what recipients of government grants should do to formally recognise the Government’s contribution towards the project.

For capital works projects valued at $250,000 or more, a community information billboard must be erected on site at least 3 weeks prior to the commencement of works and removed no later than 3 weeks after the project is completed.

The State Government insignia should also be included on all advertising and promotional material for any approved VRIF project.

For Raceday Attraction Program events, applicants should also consider placing an advertisement in the racebook acknowledging the Government’s support for the day.

Further information on the Victorian Government Branding Guidelines can be obtained via the Department of Premier and Cabinet website (external link)

4. Supporting documents required as part of a VRIF application

4.1 What supporting documents should I attach to the application?

It is essential that the required supporting documentation be provided with all applications to minimise delays in the assessment process.

Failure to provide the required documentation may result in applications being returned and having to be resubmitted.

Written quotes

The number of quotes to be included with the application must be in accordance with the requirements outlined at section 3.2.

Copies of all written quotes must be attached to the application and information regarding verbal quotes must be detailed in the application.

Tender documents

When a project is required to go to public tender, applicants must provide details of the proposed tender process, including the tender opening and closing dates.

Applicants will be required to provide copies of the following documentation:

  • request for tender document
  • winning tender document
  • tender recommendation report, detailing the assessment process and why the winning tender was selected.
Detailed project financial budget

A detailed financial budget must form part of the application and include a detailed breakdown of project costs and specific expenditure for each project component.

The budget must clearly specify what components of the project will be funded through the VRIF and what will be funded by the applicant and its funding partners (e.g. controlling body, sponsors, council/community groups etc.).

Evidence of funding support from funding partners must be submitted with the application.

Budget information must be completed in the table of the relevant VRIF application form. A separate detailed budget must be provided for all other VRIF submissions.

Project costs must be consistent with quotes included in the application.

Detailed project plans/photographic evidence

In the case of infrastructure works, applicants must include the following documents:

  • photograph/s of existing infrastructure related to the application
  • project plans and/or diagrams of proposed construction or renovation works.
Planning/building permits

Where applicable, applicants should include any planning or building permits that have been granted to undertake the proposed works or outline the process to be undertaken to obtain the necessary permits.

Project reports

Where applicable, supporting project reports relating to the proposed works to be undertaken should also be included with the application.

For example, this may include structural, engineering, electrical, plumbing or occupational health and safety reports.

Letters of support

A letter of support for any VRIF application must be included from the relevant controlling body.

It is strongly recommended that applicants obtain letters of support from the local council, key stakeholders or community users/groups wherever possible.

5. Application submission and assessment process

5.1 Where do I submit my completed application?

All applications are now handled through the SmartyGrants online grants management system.

5.2 What happens to my application once it is submitted?

Applicants are able to log into SmartyGrants at any time to track the progress of their applications.

Once an application is submitted it will be assessed by the Office of Racing to ensure that all of the required information has been submitted with the application.

Applications that are incomplete or do not include the necessary supporting documentation will be returned to the applicant to complete.

In such cases, the application will need to be resubmitted prior to the assessment process commencing. This may result in delays in the application assessment and decision making processes.

In the case of Raceday Attraction Program applications, it is important to note that the application will only be considered for assessment once all the required information has been submitted.

If a RAP application does not conform with the required RAP timeframes prior to the scheduled event (refer to table in section 2.2), the application will not be considered for assessment and returned to the applicant.

5.3 How will my application be assessed?

Assessment of applications by the Office of Racing may include a site visit to better understand the project requirements.

Applicants must provide as much detail as possible in the initial application. If there is insufficient information for the OOR to make a proper assessment, applicants will be contacted requesting further information. This will delay assessment of the application.

Subject to the receipt of the required information, the Office of Racing will prepare a brief for the Minister for Racing for his consideration.

Approval of all VRIF grants is made at the sole discretion of the Minister for Racing.

Applications will be assessed by the Office of Racing against the objectives set out section 1.3 and the following criteria:

  • demonstrated need for the project to the racing industry
  • demonstrated benefit of the project to the broader community
  • provision of detailed project information
  • provision of an accurate budget and confirmation of funding contributions
  • provision of required supporting documentation.
RAP Applications

All RAP applications will be assessed by the RAP Advisory Committee at its monthly meeting (as detailed in section 2.2). The Committee will review and assess all VRIF RAP applications seeking funding of less than $20,000 with a recommendation made to the Minister of Racing.

The Office of Racing will then prepare a brief for the Minister's consideration.

Late applications will be deferred until the following month’s meeting, unless special circumstances apply. In such cases, applicants must contact the Office of Racing to discuss the application prior to submission.

RAP applications will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • the innovative nature of the proposal
  • the expected customer experience
  • outcomes of other RAP funded events
  • how the proposal is aligned with industry strategic plans
  • how the proposal supports the long-term objectives of the applicant and the racing industry
  • demonstrated engagement with local community organisations and sporting groups
  • links with the region and tourism development opportunities
  • strategy to promote return attendance at race meetings.

5.4 How long will it take to find out if my application has been successful?

The Office of Racing will endeavour to process applications as quickly as possible. However, delays may occur due to industry and work priorities.

The Office of Racing will seek to have a recommendation to the Minister for Racing Infrastructure and Raceday Attraction Program applications within 8 weeks from the date of submission.

For major projects or initiatives that require detailed assessment or extensive consultation, the response times may be greater.

5.5 What will I have to do if my application is successful?

If a VRIF application is successful, applicants will receive a letter from the Minister for Racing (addressed to the Chairman/President) advising of his approval of VRIF funding for the project.

Following this, applicants will receive a letter from the Office of Racing (addressed to the Chief Executive/Club Manager) enclosing 2 copies of the Funding Agreement for the project together with a standard set of terms and conditions.

The Funding Agreement will be executed between the applicant and the Department of Justice and Regulation.

VRIF funding is offered subject to acceptance of the Funding Agreement. The Funding Agreement contains a Project Schedule outlining the expected start and completion dates for the project, based on the information provided in the application and any subsequent information provided to the Office of Racing. The Funding Agreement will also outline reporting requirements and payment timeframes for the project.

Applicants are required to sign both copies of the Funding Agreement and return them to the Office of Racing. A fully executed copy of the Funding Agreement will be provided in due course.

5.6 Can I request a review if my application is not successful?

As approval of VRIF funding is at the sole discretion of the Minister for Racing, there is no recourse for review.

However, the Office of Racing can provide feedback and advice to assist with the submission of future applications.

The Office of Racing will inform applicants by phone that their application has been unsuccessful. Applicants will also be formally notified by letter.

6. Claiming the grant funding and reporting requirements

6.1 How and when will grant money be paid?

Invoices submitted for payment will be made in accordance with the standard government payment terms, which is 30 days.

Upfront Payment

For Racing Infrastructure projects valued over $10,000, an amount equivalent of up to 40 per cent of the approved grant will be made available upon execution of the Funding Agreement. This is in recognition that capital works projects may require initial funding to secure contractors and to commence work.

For Raceday Attraction Program projects, consideration will be given to providing an amount equivalent of up to 40 per cent of the approved grant in special circumstances upon execution of the Funding Agreement.

Progress Payments

Progress payments of up to 50 per cent of the approved grant for Racing Infrastructure projects will be made available during the course of the project. Payments for progress claims will require the following information:

  • tax invoice to the Department of Justice and Regulation
  • progress report, including photographic evidence and compliance with expected timeframes and budget and copies of all invoices paid to date.

No progress payments will be made available for Raceday Attraction Program grants.

Final Payment

For Racing Infrastructure grants, an amount equivalent to 10 per cent of the approved VRIF grant will be retained until satisfactory completion of the project.

Raceday Attraction Program grants will only be finalised upon satisfactory completion of the project.

All final grant claims must be accompanied by proof of expenditure, as outlined in the Funding Agreement and will require the following information for acquittal:

  • tax invoice to the Department of Justice and Regulation
  • final report on the outcome of the project, including photographic evidence and compliance with timeframes and budget
  • copies of all invoices for the project as evidence of the total project cost
  • evidence of applicant’s recognition of the government’s contribution to the project
  • statutory declaration attesting to the total cost of the project.

For projects that are completed for less than the expected budget, the VRIF grant will be paid on a pro rata basis.

7. Contact information

For more information about the Victorian Racing Industry Fund, or to discuss any specific queries, please contact the Office of Racing.

Phone: (03) 8684 1903

Fax: (03) 8684 1900

Email: vrif_infrastructure@justice.vic.gov.au


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Author: Department of Justice and Regulation
Publisher: Department of Justice and Regulation
Date of Publication: 2015
Copyright: State of Victoria, 2015

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