Victoria’s racing industry is estimated to have contributed around $2.8 billion to the Victorian economy in 2012-13. The racing industry encompasses greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing—each governed by a controlling body.
Since 2009 the racing industry has received grants through the Regional Racing Infrastructure Fund (RRIF) and the Victorian Racing Industry Fund (VRIF). The Department of Justice (DOJ) manages these funds.
DOJ’s management of racing industry grants over the past five years has been administratively weak. Particularly for the now completed RRIF program, a lack of assessment guidance and records meant it was unclear whether applications had met the funding criteria or had been assessed consistently.
There were also weaknesses with how some controlling bodies managed publicly funded projects, and how DOJ oversaw these projects and gained assurance that they would achieve intended outcomes.
Since VRIF started in 2012, there has been steady improvement both in how DOJ manages applications and in how controlling bodies manage funded projects. But greater effort is needed to improve the transparency and accountability of grants assessments. DOJ also needs to demonstrate that grants have achieved the desired outcomes and brought the expected benefits—something it is currently unable to do.