Bendigo West MP Maree Edwards and racing minister Martin Pakula.

THE Bendigo Jockey Club has won the backing of the state government to fund key safety and infrastructure upgrades.

The Epsom racecourse, which plays host to the group three Bendigo Cup each year and a number of standalone Victorian meetings, will be able to maximise its water efficiency as part of the $400,000 plan.

A new two-megalitre dam will be built to collect water runoff from club buildings, while a 10-megalitre dam will be built in the centre of the course itself.

The low storage capacity of the existing dam forces the club to buy water in to maintain its track and surrounds.

The project will increase the club’s water capacity by up to 30 megalitres and deliver a new solar pump and two pumping stations. The increase in capacity and efficiency is expected to help the club avoid $20,000 in costs.

“That saving is an extremely important contribution to the club,” racing minister Martin Pakula said.

It falls into line with the club’s recently announced plan to develop an equine facility at the Heinz Street precinct including upgraded stables and training facilities.

The plans are still under development, and Mr Pakula said the BJC is yet to present them to his office.

“You need to continue to put the investment in to make sure clubs are able to maintain their positions as training centres, and Bendigo does that,” he said.

“It’s great credit to the committee and everybody involved at the club and it means that Bendigo will maintain its place as a really strong regional training centre.

“They haven’t come to me with that (the equine centre plan) with that yet, but this club, like most clubs, will wait until those plans are really well developed.

“There’s no doubt that when those plans are further developed they will come to government for support and it will be considered along with all of the plans from all of the other clubs that come to government.”

BJC chair Margot Falconer said the club was grateful for the government’s investment.