Beach access for horse trainers will be a necessity even if new facilities are created at Warrnambool racecourse, Racing Minister Martin Pakula says.
Speaking in Camperdown on Friday, Mr Pakula said alternative training facilities were not the silver bullet some hoped to solving the controversial issue of horses galloping on Warrnambool and Killarney beaches and Levys Point dunes.
He said the government had discussed upgrading Warrnambool’s track training facilities after concerns were raised about damage to beaches, hooded plover breeding grounds and indigenous cultural history.
“That will, I think, take some pressure off those that want to use the beach,” Mr Pakula said.
“I would think that there would be some that want to use the beach, maybe not as intensely as it’s used at the moment, but I don’t think a solution at the club will eliminate the need for a beach to be used.”
Mr Pakula said it was up to the community to find a solution and it would be unlikely to be resolved until after council elections later this month. Horses are banned on Warrnambool beach from December 1 and Levys Point dunes have been closed since last month.
“I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: The local community has to drive the outcome and then government will work with the local community to help deliver that,” he said.
He reassured trainers he was “absolutely in their corner” and working to find a solution.