The greyhound racing industry is disappointed at a $10 million compensation payment from the State Government for the closure of the Parklands Greyhound racing facility at the Gold Coast Greyhounds Queensland acting chair Kerry Watson said today.
Greyhound racing will cease at Parklands on July 30 to make way for the Gold Coast Hospital. The State Government informed Greyhounds Queensland in August last year of its intention to take over the site. In March it officially notified the industry it would have to vacate Parklands by August 31.
The loss of Parklands will mean the permanent loss of a “single turn” TAB track for the Greyhound industry in South-East Queensland unless a replacement facility can be developed, as it leaves the industry with two “two turn” tracks, neither of which can be expanded to accommodate a Parklands style track.
“Greyhounds Queensland and the industry generally do not have the resources readily available to develop a replacement track. Greyhounds Queensland submitted a report to the State Government in February providing costings and a concept plan for a Parklands replacement at a site at Logan which had been suggested as a site suitable to the industry. The Logan complex was estimated to cost $40 million,” said Ms Watson.
The entire industry will see the loss of Parklands as a devastating blow should the industry have insufficient resources to develop a replacement facility.
Ms Watson said Greyhounds Queensland sees the Logan site as an opportunity for the industry to develop a stand alone facility under industry control and has already written to Andrew Fraser, the State Treasurer and Minister responsible for Racing, seeking to have the freehold title of the land at Logan transferred to Greyhounds Queensland at no cost.
Greyhounds Queensland acknowledges the support of Andrew Fraser MP Minister responsible for Racing in seeking to achieve the best possible outcome for the industry within the limitations of Government.
“We hope, in the circumstances, the State Government will look favourably at this request,” she said.
“Greyhound racing’s hopes of a successful future rest with a stand alone racing complex of our own.
“The Logan proposal provides the best opportunity for this.”
“The industry requires three different tracks to meet its contractual arrangements with UniTAB/Sky Channel and to provide the diversity of racing for greyhounds in this state,” said Greyhounds Queensland general manager Darren Beavis.
Beavis pointed out that when the State Government announced its intention to take back the area of land used by greyhound racing at Parklands, it “dramatically changed the position of Albion Park from a greyhound industry perspective”.
“We are now examining ways to realise the value of our 50 percent interest in the Albion Park complex with a view to directing this towards the development of the Logan complex. In this respect, Greyhounds Queensland will be progressing discussions about the future of the Albion Park complex, which it half owns in with Qld Harness Racing Ltd, with Qld Harness Racing and the State Government” he said.
“The directors of Greyhounds Queensland are fully committed to a stand alone greyhound complex of our own. This is the only way to secure the future of the industry and Greyhounds Queensland is working within limitations to achieve this outcome” Beavis said.