Gold Coast greyhound racing will be given $10 million in taxpayer funding to help it find a new racetrack after it moves out of its taxpayer-owned Parklands site which has been earmarked for the $1.5 billion Gold Coast University Hospital.
Treasurer Andrew Fraser yesterday told a parliamentary estimates hearing the State Government did not legally have to give Greyhounds Queensland the compensation as they were on public-owned land administered by the Parklands Trust on behalf of the state.
He also said he would not stand in the way of the organisation if it wanted to use the money to exit its part-ownership of Albion Park in Brisbane and seek to combine the industry’s resources at a new site, possibly at Logan.
The Gold Coast club off-icially closes on July 30 after 22 years so planning can begin for the hospital.
The Salvation Army and the Church of Christ, also on the site, have already been found new homes to relocate to.
The greyhound organisation pays $130,000 a year in a leasehold arrangement.
Mr Fraser said he had met Greyhounds Queensland Limited last Friday to discuss compensation and possible alternative sites.
“There has been debate for some time over the future facilities for greyhound racing in the region,” he said.
“I know trainers and breeders have been debating the industry’s future in south-east Queensland and this announcement will help industry move forward.”
He said the compensation payment was on condition the industry used it to fund new facilities.
“Where they might be and in what form is a matter for them,” he said.
“This funding provides the means for the industry to marshal its resources and plan for the long-term future.
“Industry leaders need to put forward the best plan for the industry as a whole.”
Mr Fraser said the Government had no objection to the possibility of Greyhounds Queensland exiting their part-ownership of Albion Park.
“If they wish to, we would be happy to help them enter into a proposal with their co-tenants Queensland Harness Ltd to exit Albion Park,” he said. “While Logan has been mooted a possible alternative site for a ‘super track’, this is something for the industry to decide.
“It is now a corporatised entity in charge of its own destiny. With the benefit of the transfer of the half-share of Albion Park in the past and now with the $10 million in compensation at Parklands, we think that sets it up with the ability to make those decisions.”
Courtesy : Sue Lappeman, Gold Coast News