Racing Queensland has provided to government its plan to overhaul harness and greyhound infrastructure in SEQ in order to ensure racing is in the best possible position to grow and prosper over the next two decades and beyond.
The infrastructure vision for racing in Queensland has been informed by detailed economic analysis, customer research and industry consultation.
The Government will now consider all projects put forward and in due course will announce the projects to be funded and delivery schedule. The projects will be funded by the Racing Infrastructure Fund (RIF) which has $63 million available now with a further $61 million of inflows expected from the UBET agreement up until 2023.
Once informed of the Government's endorsement RQ will liaise with the relevant clubs and commence detailed feasibility analyses and project programming.
While Racing Queensland awaits the announcement immediate work will begin on an Expression of Interest (EOI) process to identify options for up to two new venues each for greyhound and harness racing to the south and west of Brisbane, identified as key growth areas for both codes.
Racing Queensland CEO Eliot Forbes said the EOI process is all about growth and creating a brighter future for racing. "To provide the best animal and participant welfare and the best platform for the future of racing we need some new world-class facilities and we believe our EOI process will create the competitive tension to achieve this."
The move towards Expressions of Interest, targeting local councils and other interested parties, follows an independent review conducted by Deloitte into the future needs of harness and greyhound racing in South East Queensland.
In that review industry participants identified that the state of current SEQ infrastructure for both harness and greyhound is inadequate for the future needs of those codes and does not meet the expectations of participants or customers. Albion Park in particular was identified as a venue that needs attention.
Racing Queensland Chairman Steve Wilson said clubs across the state will benefit from the infrastructure decisions the Board has taken. "Regions want jobs and people attractors. We've got money to spend to cause these and the will to get on with it. You can't attract tomorrow's customers with yesterday's facilities."
It was also clearly identified by greyhound participants that there was a need for contemporary single turn tracks, which are not currently available in Queensland.
The Deloitte economic analysis indicated the best position for new facilities, for both codes, would be in growth corridors to the west and south of Brisbane. Greyhound industry participants also expressed a strong desire for new facilities to be built in those regions, however harness industry participants expressed a diversity of views regarding their infrastructure needs.
The EOI process will investigate development opportunities in those corridors to examine development options for the greyhound code.
For the harness code RQ will conduct further investigation, including additional consultation, regarding the best future infrastructure footprint to allow for growth in that code.
Submissions from thoroughbred, harness and greyhound racing clubs from across Queensland were analysed to determine the projects put forward for funding under the RIF.
"We received submissions that involved 171 projects from 55 formal submissions which will benefit 68 clubs. The total request for funding far exceeded the funds available and that means that we cannot fully meet every request. As a result, we have needed to prioritise requests, assessing project merits against our stated criteria."
Submissions had to meet one (or more) of several assessment criteria including animal and jockey welfare, new revenue streams and commercial optimisation, the improvement of racing and industry outcomes and the delivery of increased wagering opportunities.
Additional criteria included strategies to support club sustainability and the creation of an enduring benefit to the racing industry and their communities. Each submission also had to be in alignment with Racing Queensland goals and strategies.
"Some clubs made requests for tens of millions of dollars while others asked for more modest contributions. We had to balance the needs of the industry against the interests of individual clubs and regions. We believe the identified projects will strengthen the industry across all three codes."
$20 million of priority projects were identified relating to key operations, safety or welfare which will benefit multiple clubs across metropolitan, country and regional Queensland. There is a further runway of projects that have been identified to meet the needs established through the submission process that will exhaust available funding.
"It is clear that there are some compelling infrastructure needs right across the state in order to maintain the continuity of racing and to best position the sport for future growth."
For further information please contact:
Corporate Affairs Manager Darrin Davies on 0438 733 738 or firstname.lastname@example.org