The Bligh Government will help ‘usher in a new era’ for the racing industry, with a funding package of more than $80 million over four years to redevelop key facilities across the state.
Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the funding package, sourced from the redirection of half of the revenue gained from wagering taxes, will help revitalise an industry that has been estimated to directly and indirectly employ 43,000 people across the state.
“The racing industry is critical to Queensland’s economy and many local communities,” Mr Fraser said.
“We have identified the need to redevelop the industry’s ageing infrastructure to usher in a new era of racing – something the industry cannot achieve on its own.
“It is the government’s desire to see a major redevelopment of the Gold Coast Turf Club, the home of the Magic Millions carnival, undertaken as soon as possible.
“It is an important event to the Gold Coast and Queensland, and needs a world-class facility in order for the event to grow.
“The government also believes a new greyhound facility at Logan is a key priority.
“As they say, if you build it, they will come.”
Mr Fraser said as part of the biggest overhaul of racing in Queensland in generations, he and Racing Minister Peter Lawlor had received a merger proposal from the heads of both the Thoroughbred and Greyhound codes.
The government supports industry reform to strengthen its future and has provided in-principle support for the proposal. The government intends to legislate early this year to facilitate the proposal.
Representatives of the Harness code have agreed in-principle to the importance of a merged control body, but have not yet formally proposed to participate.
Mr Fraser said the commitment of funds was a commitment to reform and sustainability.
“The government will allocate this funding to a new amalgamated racing body, which will have the financial and administrative strength to take the industry forward and invest this money appropriately.
“The government would welcome the involvement of the Harness code.”
Mr Lawlor said the funding injection is critical to the sustainability of the industry into the future.
“This is a big win for the industry and particularly the Gold Coast,” Mr Lawlor said.
“The government will stump up the money to improve the facilities, which will then allow the Magic Millions owners to reach for the sky, and see the event reach its potential on the international stage.”
Mr Lawlor said the investment will benefit the industry across the state.
“This is a major step forward for Queensland’s racing industry.”