The value of the local racing industry was revealed in a new report launched today by Manager of the Bunbury Trotting Club Julie Caldwell, and is a timely reminder as to how relevant racing is to the South West whilst celebrating Dr Manea’s regional, national and international contribution to racing.
Ms Caldwell said the South West snapshot followed the launch of a State wide reportundertaken by Racing & Wagering WA at Parliament House in September and provided an insight into both the popularity and value of racing to the economy.
“Last year some 76,400 people attended one of the 77 race meetings across the South West spending more than $4.2 million (excluding wagering) on retail, transportation, and food & drinks to take to the races,” she said.
“These statistics really highlight the evolution of grass roots racing across the South West into a sustainable community based sport – you could say the racing vision that Dr Manea has held for the South West region has been realised with the launch of these statistics today” she said.
“The snapshot revealed that over 3,600 people are engaged in the South-West racing industry either as an employee, volunteer or participant such as a breeder or trainer and it’s estimated that one in every 36 adults in the region has an involvement in the sport,” she said. “These are startling statistics that really highlight the employment opportunities the industry provides locally, and the South West’s passion for racing.
“There are seven racing clubs in the South West employing the equivalent of 453 full-time staff and the region has remained one of the State’s largest breeding areas for all three codes with more than 13 per cent of thoroughbred and harness breeders operating in the region,” Ms Caldwell said.
Ms Caldwell said the people involved in the racing industry are what bring it to life and this is recognised through special events such as the Dr Ern Manea Day. “This annual event, which began in 2006, pays homage to a highly esteemed member of the Bunbury and racing communities, who has made a significant contribution to racing over the years,” she said.
Dr Manea served as Mayor of Bunbury for more than a decade and held other important other positions including Director of South West Development and Regional authorities. After founding the Marden Stud Farm in the 1950’s he became involved in the racing industry, serving as president of the WA Trotting Association (WATA), the Australian Harness Racing Council (AHRC), the Inter Dominion Harness Racing Council and the International Trotting Association.
His contribution to racing was recognised with the AHRC’s JP Stratton Award, the highest Australian Standardbred Industry award, and the International Trotting Association celebrated his commitment to harness racing by awarding him Life Membership. Dr Manea has also been awarded a Special Recognition Certificate by Ohio House of Representatives in the United States of America.
The Dr Ern Manea Day 9 race event commences at 3pm today at the Bunbury Trotting Club, and will feature fantastic free kids entertainment for all the family to enjoy.