The Queensland Government and Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) today unveiled significant changes to the $110 million Industry Infrastructure Plan (IIP) to deliver new and improved racing facilities across the state.
The projects are independent of the ongoing legal action surrounding the sale of Albion Park and uncertainty over any future redevelopment at Deagon.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and Regional Economies, Tim Mulherin, joined RQL Chairman, Bob Bentley, to detail the changes today.
“I’m pleased today to announce the Bligh Government has approved amendments put forward by RQL to the $110 million Industry Infrastructure Plan,” said Mr Mulherin.
“The changes have been sought by RQL to move the racing industry forward with greater certainty while still maintaining the vision to build viable facilities that are state-of-the-art and will service the industry well for decades to come.
“This process hasn’t been easy. I am confident that we now have the right balance of projects that represent the diverse needs of each industry.
“Another significant change under this revised plan is that parts of the proposed Ipswich Turf Club upgrade, which were previously dependent upon the successful redevelopment of Albion Park, can now be brought forward.
“The Government is fully supportive of RQL’s plan to provide $6 million to build a tunnel under the course proper that will really unlock the full potential of that site allowing for a future secondary harness and greyhound venue.
“The changes to the IIP have all been approved by the Government and funding for each project will be released upon submission of the business case by RQL – as demonstrated by the Mackay and Beaudesert upgrades,” he said.
“I can also announce today that construction will start on the $8.2 million upgrade to the Beaudesert Race Club before the end of the month following the submission of a business case by RQL to Government.
Mr Bentley said the changes to the IIP will allow RQL to move forward with certainty and fund $110 million in works across all three codes of racing.
“There has been increasing angst, particularly within the greyhound racing industry, that the legal action surrounding the sale of Albion Park and uncertainty over the Deagon development application was delaying vital projects for simply too long,” Mr Bentley said.
“Greyhound racing in South East Queensland is in desperate need of a new home. Logan will be more than a home, it will the premier greyhound racing facility in Queensland, if not Australia.
“RQL will have the business case for Logan completed next week with construction to start before the end of financial year.
“Brisbane City Councillors made it clear they were unwilling to consider the Deagon application based on merit. We’re fortunate that there is an alternate site at Logan that is ready to go and has the strong, unified support of the greyhound industry and Logan City Council.”
Mr Bentley said the business case for a multi-million dollar redevelopment in Cairns has been submitted to Government and work is well underway on the cases for the Gold Coast, Logan, Townsville and Rockhampton.
Key changes to the Plan include:
- Withdrawal of the development application for a $39.9 million new dual-code racing facility at Deagon;
- $24 million for a new greyhound racing facility at Cronulla Park, Logan, including a one and two turn track, training facilities, grandstand and public amenities;
- Bringing forward $6 million for the Ipswich Turf Club to construct a tunnel under the course proper, which will facilitate access to the infield for the preparation of a secondary greyhound and harness track and to maximise the potential of a development site fronting Brisbane Road;
- Investing $6 million to relocate Townsville greyhounds from the showgrounds to Cluden Park, adjacent to the Townsville Turf Club;
- $2 million reserved for a new master plan for the Deagon racecourse site which will incorporate continued thoroughbred training, a harness racing facility and greyhound training track. The master plan will only be developed provided the sale of Albion Park proceeds.
Mr Mulherin said the changes to the plan are sensible and thanked RQL for consulting with industry to cement the new and altered projects.
“Townsville greyhounds were facing a major crisis with the showgrounds. They’re problems are now solved and the greyhound racing industry in Townsville and surrounds has a bright and positive future,” he said.
“Cronulla Park Logan will develop into an important venue on the national greyhound racing stage, which is exciting for the Logan district and South East Queensland.”
Mr Bentley said RQL will continue with its plan to realise the value of Albion Park.
“Realising the potential of Albion Park’ will do three things – remove an ageing liability for our industry, inject tens of millions of dollars to complete all the major and minor works that need to be done across the state and provide a reoccurring income stream which can be used for such things as prizemoney for years to come,” he said.