THE opening of Stage 2 of Murray Regional Equestrian Centre was celebrated in the heart of the horse industry at Coolup yesterday.
Opening the centre and representing Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan, Murray MLA Robyn Clarke said the Shire of Murray and local equine clubs should be proud of what they had achieved since the first sod was turned in 2015.
She said the location of the centre was significant and took in a catchment accounting for around 40 per cent of all non-racing horses in WA.
“The non racing equine industry in the area is a major contributor to the local economy and responsible for around $221 million of direct expenditure and $229 million gross value a year in the area,’’ she said.
“It also supports more than 1860 direct and indirect jobs.”
Mrs Clarke said the number of horse-owning households in the catchment was expected to grow by almost 50 per cent by 2026, with 13,000 households with horses.
“The centre will help in this as it will bring increased participation in a range of equine sports that will in turn increase the need for equine support services as well as tourism associated with future state and national events,” she said.
The State Government contributed $257,900 through Royalties for Regions towards development of the national standard cross country course as part of Stage 2.
The funding also went towards a new dressage arena, an enhanced polocrosse field and a range of other improvements.
Eleven equine groups currently use the facility which includes dressage and show jumping arenas, four levelled polo cross fields, new fencing, and bridle and pedestrian trails.
Stage 3 will include design and construction of a Peel events and equestrian arena, a multi-purpose covered area and extra horse stalls.
The afternoon also included the soft launch of Peel Development Commission’s Peel Equine Strategy that provides a strategic direction for development of the racing and non-racing sectors of the industry.