Queensland will be home to the nation’s most advanced greyhound racing tracks at a new $39 million venue that will be built by the Palaszczuk Government.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said it was a great day for the greyhound industry, with the multimillion-dollar project, which has a working title of the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre, to be located at Purga, outside Ipswich.
He said the new tracks and infrastructure would ensure the viability and vitality of an industry that supported hundreds of jobs, while also improving animal welfare.
“The funding is being provided from the Racing Infrastructure Fund, which is financed from the exclusive wagering license fee paid to the State and allocated by the Government to approved projects.
“When greyhound racing started at Albion Park and the Ipswich Showgrounds in the 1980s and 1990s, those tracks met contemporary standards for animal welfare.
“Those standards are now much higher and we have consulted at length with experts, including Professor David Eager from the School of Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering at Sydney’s University of Technology.
“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.
“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.
“We are embarking on a very exciting period for the fastest-growing racing code in Queensland.”
Racing Queensland Chairman Steve Wilson said the announcement was a watershed moment for the greyhound code.
“RQ is committed to growing the greyhound code, which is why we have increased prize money by 51 per cent in the past three years and will provide an extra $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 Palaszczuk Government for making this project a reality.”
Professor Eager said the project would be 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.”
Construction on the complex is expected to start in 2022, with the first races to be held by the end of 2023.