Over 200 people signed an online petition calling for the State Government to block an imminent ban of horses on Killarney beach within the first 24 hours.
Western District MP James Purcell's website was flooded with support just one day into the petition, receiving over 200 signatures on the first day in favour of keeping Killarney beach open to trainers and racehorses.
“We had over 200 in favour and only four against on the first day, which is a fair indication of where the community support sits. We will be getting in touch with those involved to resolve this issue. I will be pressing both the Environment Minister and Racing Minister to support the community.” Mr Purcell says.
Several groups have called for horses to be banned at popular tourist spots along the coast, proposing instead that trainers move their horses to Port Fairy’s East Beach.
Mr Purcell labelled the plan to move to East Beach “a recipe for disaster” and “stupid”.
"A ban on Killarney beach would negatively impact horse trainers and tourists alike. The ban threatens the future of many trainers and also the $100 million that the industry brings to the south west annually," he says.
The petition has been pulled ahead of schedule due to overwhelming support, despite little marketing and promotion.
“The petition was well received and tells us the attitudes of the region,” he says.
Mr Purcell will call on the Government to ensure Killarney Beach remains open to horses throughout the year excluding the peak tourism period of December 26 – January 31.