Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk should abandon a planned public meeting to be held on Sunday, October 16 until he has been properly briefed on vital plans that have the potential to deliver a brighter future for Queensland’s racing industry.
Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) chairman Bob Bentley today said the Lord Mayor was putting the cart before the horse by holding a public meeting without having been briefed by RQL on the full detail of its Industry Infrastructure Plan.
“What on Earth is the Lord Mayor thinking? We have tried repeatedly since June to give Cr Quirk the facts on the RQL’s Industry Infrastructure Plan and in particular issues surrounding both Deagon and Albion Park yet he seems to have a case of selective hearing when it comes to listening to both sides of this discussion,” Mr Bentley said.
“Our project team was told the Lord Mayor’s diary was full for the rest of the year and only late yesterday did he finally agree to meet with us but not until the damage is done at a half-baked ‘public meeting’.
“He simply shouldn’t be holding a public meeting on an issue he’s not been bothered to know the facts about.”
Mr Bentley said RQL had received a number of complaints from local residents who had been doorknocked by individuals spreading misinformation about the development plans for Deagon.
“What they are being told is outrageous and it’s all to try and drum up attendance at what is clearly a blatant political rally for the LNP and not a public meeting to sensibly discuss the merits of a proposal which is critical to the future livelihood of the racing industry,” he said.
“Many of these people have offered to attend and voice their protest however I think that would be a waste of time as clearly the facts are falling on deaf ears.”
Mr Bentley said ratepayers attending the rally should ask the Lord Mayor a few hard questions like:
• How many times has he met or spoken with high profile anti-plan campaigners since he became Lord Mayor?
• Why did he refuse to meet with RQL for so long to get a balanced view of the argument and an understanding of what it means to an industry that employs so many Queenslanders?
• Why does the Lord Mayor seem at odds with his own Albion Neighbourhood Plan which clearly states that the preferred option for the Albion Park Raceway is its relocation to allow for a more appropriate development for an inner city location?
• What are the real motives for Brisbane City Council to keep harness racing operating on substandard tracks and poor facilities at Albion Park?
Mr Bentley said postponing the planned public meeting until after RQL’s briefing with the Lord Mayor would have at least conveyed a perception of impartiality.
“RQL has done significant planning in the past few months on both Albion Park and the Deagon development which will include a one and a two turn greyhound track as well as harness stakeholders current first priority, a 1400 metre harness circuit,” he said.
“The planning work at Deagon will mean both greyhound and harness racing will receive a first class facility and still allow the resumption of land for the Deagon deviation currently in progress.
“We know some thoroughbred trainers are against moving from Deagon but we have worked closely with them and progress has been made to such a point that some facilities have been retained in the Development Application we recently sent to Council.
“We also intend to turn Albion Park into a project of national significance.
“This won’t be just a residential development, this will be a project that will include a massive urban recreation area that will combat any future flooding issues and be a project the whole of Brisbane can be proud of.
“The plan also includes stringent traffic management protocols which will minimise the impacts onto Kingsford Smith Drive.
“Both these projects have enormous benefits for the entire community and we deserve to have these submissions handled fairly and impartially by Brisbane City Council.”