A site has been secured for the new home of harness racing and training in Queensland.
Racing Queensland will purchase more than 72 hectares of land at Norwell on the northern Gold Coast for the Queensland Harness Centre, accessing $8 million from the Racing Infrastructure Fund to secure the greenfield site.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Norwell is an ideal location.
“This world-class harness racing facility is expected to host more than 200 meetings a year and will include training and stabling facilities that are currently unavailable in Queensland,” the Premier said.
“Harness racing contributes to our great Queensland lifestyle and generates about $185 million for the Queensland economy every year, supporting about 1300 good, secure jobs.
“It also contributes to the magnificent Gold Coast tourism economy.”
Racing Minister Grace Grace said the Queensland Harness Centre site is 40 minutes from both the Brisbane and Gold Coast CBDs.
“The Queensland Harness Centre will have easy access to the M1 and future Coomera Connector,” Ms Grace said.
“Racing Queensland will work to ensure this is a state-of-the-art facility that is designed with animal welfare as its highest priority.
“The new homes for Queensland harness racing at Norwell and greyhound racing at Purga pave the way for the Albion Park site to become part of a key precinct for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
An independent report commissioned by Racing Queensland showed the northern Gold Coast corridor was the most suitable location for the Queensland Harness Centre, with a third of all Queensland standardbreds based locally.
Racing Queensland Chairman Steve Wilson AM said the creation of a “centre of excellence” for Queensland harness racing was expected to retain existing participants and attract new participants to harness racing.
“We will get one opportunity to do this right and that includes optimising SEQ’s sub-tropical climate for both participants and patrons,” Mr Wilson said.
“As a purpose-built harness racing facility, the code will boast unprecedented opportunity to utilise the venue for training and racing purposes.
“Presently, metropolitan programming is heavily reliant on Albion Park availability, with the construction of the Queensland Harness Centre ensuring greater emphasis can be placed on maximising wagering performance and returns to participants.”
Albion Park Harness Racing Club (APHRC) Chairman Brad Steele said the Queensland Harness Centre was among the most significant announcements for the code in half a century.
“APHRC fully endorses an infrastructure masterplan for the Queensland harness racing code that will support sustainable growth,” Mr Steele said.
“In the process, the Queensland Harness Centre will provide long-term certainty for the club, and the industry, by delivering a once-in-a-generation asset that is industry owned.
Breeders, Owners, Trainers, Reinspersons Association President Daren Garrard applauded the announcement.
“The Queensland Harness Centre has the ability to transform our industry,” Mr Garrard said.
“By creating a state-of-the-art racing and training precinct, not only will today’s participants be well looked after, but it will provide an unparalleled opportunity for future trainers to join the ranks.”
Industry consultation regarding the design of the Queensland Harness Centre will begin before Christmas. Racing is expected to start at the Queensland Harness Centre in 2026.
For artist impressions of the new Queensland Harness Centre click here