World first: Green light for $40m greyhound complex
THE Palaszczuk Government will build the world's most advanced and sophisticated greyhound racing complex at a new $40 million venue in Ipswich that will revitalise and transform the industry.
In a world-first, there will be three tracks at the new 35 hectare complex at Yamanto - a one-turn track, two-turn facility and a straight track.
The tracks will be the safest ever built, utilising cutting-edge engineering technology to design circuits that make racing as interference-free as possible.
The Albion Park and Ipswich greyhound boards will merge into the Greater Brisbane Greyhound Club.
They will continue to race at Albion Park and Ipswich until 2023, when the new facility will open.
Capalaba greyhound club will remain open. Construction on the new complex is expected to start in 2022.
RQ will now fast-track its plan to relocateharness racing from Albion Park to a greenfield site.
There will be enough kennels for 20-race meetings and camera positioning to provide world-class coverage.
The grandstand and restaurants will be positioned in the middle of the complex, ensuring patrons can watch races at all three tracks.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe 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 collected from wagering and allocated by the Government to approved projects,'' he said.
"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.''
Greyhound racing contributes more than $125 million to the Brisbane and Ipswich economies and supports almost 1000 full-time jobs. During construction, the project will create 80 full-time jobs.
The massive vote of confidence in greyhound racing comes as wagering turnover figures on the dogs explodes, with TAB and corporate wagering turnover up 80 per cent over the past five years.
Racing Queensland chairman Steve Wilson said the announcement was a watershed moment for the greyhound code.
"We are 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,'' he 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. We are totally committed to the greyhound as an animal.
"These dogs date back to the Pharaohs … they run and chase. It's great to see how these canines are being picked up by people as pets after they finish racing.''
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."