Gifford Hill construction at stand-still

Murray Bridge Racing Club secretary manager John Buhagiar says the club is unsure what will be happening next for the Gifford Hill venture, but it is still moving forward.
Murray Bridge Racing Club secretary manager John Buhagiar says the club is unsure what will be happening next for the Gifford Hill venture, but it is still moving forward.
Murray Bridge Racing Club secretary manager John Buhagiar says the club is unsure what will be happening next for the Gifford Hill venture, but it is still moving forward.

Murray Bridge Racing Club secretary manager John Buhagiar says the club is unsure what will be happening next for the Gifford Hill venture, but it is still moving forward.

CONSTRUCTION of Murray Bridge's new racecourse is at a standstill as the Murray Bridge Racing Club waits for a Federal Government announcement on whether it will receive funding to build part of the facilities.

The Gifford Hill joint venture was promised $5 million towards a conference centre by the previous government in August as part of the Federal Murray-Darling Basin Economic Diversification Program, but the racing club has not heard if the money is still allocated.

Murray Bridge Racing Club chairman Reg Nolan said there was not much the club could do until the funds were confirmed.

"At the moment, we have to sit on our hands until the announcement," Mr Nolan said.

"We're in a bit of limbo, we can't really do too much."

Secretary-manager John Buhagiar, pictured right, said if the club did not receive the funding it could potentially change the deadline on the venture.

"It changes how we go about things - if the funding goes through then the next stage will be able to go ahead," Mr Buhagiar said.

"If we don't get it, it might be the horse stalls (built) next - it would change our timeline around.

"If the funding was available tomorrow, we'd expect it to be finished by December 2015."

Mr Buhagiar said most of the track had already been built.

"All the infrastucture to maintain the racecourse is in place, the building pads have been put down, significant stormwater draining has been installed ... we have a retention dam in place," he said.

"It's still moving ahead and money is still being spent, it's just unfortunate that it's not going as quickly as we thought."

Other local projects which were to be funded as part of the Federal Murray-Darling Basin Economic Diversification Program were a $3.3 million revamp of Bridge Street, Murray?Bridge, expansion plans for Thomas Foods International and a Murray Darling Basin Interpretive and Resource Centre on Meningie's lakefront.

Federal Member for Barker Tony Pasin said he was supportive of the government providing funding after meeting with Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Jamie Briggs.

Mr Pasin said he was committed to working with the State Government to ensure the funding was implemented effectively.

"It is important to note that while no decision has been made with respect to individual applications, the funding for these projects is secure," he said.

"Nonetheless, I will continue to advocate strongly for these projects to get the green light.

"As I have seen first-hand, Gifford Hill is a worthwhile project which will do a lot for the Murray Bridge economy.

"What's more, I'm an avid horse racing fan, so of course I want to see the local facilities reach their full potential."

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