The Palaszczuk Government has today announced the development of the new state-of-the-art Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre at Purga, west of Brisbane.
With animal welfare at the core of design and construction, the world-class venue will feature three tracks - a straight track, a two-turn track and a much needed one-turn track - which will reduce injuries, improve amenities and demonstrate the vibrancy of the greyhound code.
Importantly, the new home of Queensland greyhound racing will see the Brisbane and Ipswich Greyhound Racing Clubs co-locate at the venue once the $39 million project has been completed.
“We are embarking on a very exciting period for the fastest-growing racing code in Queensland," Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said.
“Annually, greyhound racing contributes more than $125 million to the Brisbane and Ipswich economies and supports almost 1000 full-time jobs, and during construction we’re looking at about 80 jobs being supported or created.
“When greyhound racing started at Albion Park and the Ipswich Showgrounds in the 1980s and 1990s, those tracks met contemporary standards for animal welfare.
“Animal welfare will be at the core of the design and construction of the venue, which will be the only venue in Australia to feature three tracks – a straight track, a two-turn track and a one-turn track.
“Once completed, the Brisbane and Ipswich greyhound racing clubs will co-locate to the venue.”
In the Sunshine State, Ipswich region is the epicentre for greyhound breeding and rearing, with almost one in every two greyhounds in Queensland born locally.
RQ Chairman Steve Wilson said today’s announcement was a watershed moment for the state’s greyhound code.
"As an organisation, we are fully committed to growing the greyhound code which is why we have increased prize money by 51% over the past three years and will provide an additional $4.1 million in 2019/20,” Mr Wilson said.
“With more participants in the region than in any other part of the state, we’re looking forward to the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre establishing itself as the new home of Queensland greyhound racing.
“We’re grateful to the Queensland Government for making this project a reality.
“Once the project is complete, we will have three modern, state-of-the-art tracks – supported by architecturally designed viewing facilities - that will showcase the Queensland greyhound code to Australia – and the world – whilst providing a new level of animal welfare and safety.
“Whether it is on the track - or in their post-racing careers - greyhounds boast a warm and loving nature and make terrific companions as they have for thousands of years.
“In the lead-up to today's announcement, RQ has been working closely with some of the world’s authoritative voices for identifying optimal greyhound track design for safety and welfare means to guide us through this process.
“We will continue to work with them through design and construction.”
Among the amenities to be established at the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre include:
- Construction of a large one-turn race track, two-turn track and straight track;
- Track radius and surface banking to be designed in a way to reduce excessive limb forces acting on greyhounds while racing;
- The implementation of modern cambers and a world-class racing surface;
- Starting box positioning to reduce interference during race starts, including drop-on boxes where best suited;
- Construction of best-practice starting boxes incorporating optimum spacing between contestants, grille heights and starting location alignment; and
- Air-conditioned, sound-attenuated kennels with best practice pre and post racing support services.
Among those that have provided professional advice and supported RQ’s track design considerations to date is Professor David Eager, who is based at the University of Technology Sydney.
In recent years, Professor Eager has been at the forefront of greyhound racing safety research - authoring numerous evidence-based technical reports on the industry – and he believes the project is a game changer.
“UTS has presented preliminary advice to RQ which will form the basis to track design decisions that are evidence-based around optimal safety and welfare for the competing greyhounds,” Professor Eager said.
“The project presents as an exciting opportunity to consolidate the considerable research advancements made in recent times.
“The presentation of the three forms of greyhound racing at the one site provides a unique opportunity to implement best practice and maximise the track preparation and maintenance performance.”
Earlier this year, the Group 1 Sky Racing Brisbane Cup at Albion Park became the showpiece of the TAB Queensland Winter Greyhound Racing Carnival with prize money increasing to $375,000 to make it the world’s third richest greyhound race.
Since then, RQ has announced the introduction of the TAB Golden Greys Summer Carnival to be headlined by the new $235,000 Gold Bullion.
Over eight weeks, the Golden Greys Summer Carnival will feature six black-type racing for sprinters, middle distance types, stayers, and age-restricted greyhounds, with the events to be staged there upon completion.
Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club Chairman Les Bein welcomed the Palaszczuk Government’s announcement.
“The greyhound industry has continued to grow in popularity over the past few years, especially amongst the younger generation and young families,” Mr Bein said.
“We see this as a tremendous investment and vote of confidence in the industry which will see the Clubs and the industry continue to prosper.
“The Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club and the industry as a whole have long coveted a stand-alone, state-of-the-art greyhound racing facility and we aim to bring an outstanding entertainment package to the growing western corridor."
Having been located at the Ipswich Showgrounds since 1982, IGRC President Colin Fry said the new facility would provide a bright future for the sport.
With Ipswich conducting more than 150 race meetings – and 1500 races per annum – the new venue will soon boast a one-turn track, which has been missing in Queensland since 2008.
"It's an exciting new dawn for greyhound racing in Queensland," Mr Fry said.
"With a world-class venue, including a one-turn track, the racing facilities will be second to none and we look forward to making it our new home."
Click here for further information on the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre.