Minister backs relocating greyhounds to renovated turf club
RACING Queensland insists it does have a plan to build a new state-of-the-art greyhound racing facility in Ipswich, but cannot say when the first sod will be turned.
A spokesman for the racing body defended its plans after Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard called for better greyhound facilities in the city.
An expression of interest process was held last year to identify sites for a replacement facility for the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club, the spokesman said.
“Due diligence is continuing on the sites shortlisted for the new facility and once a site is chosen work will begin as soon as possible, pending government approval,” he said.
According to Racing Queensland’s annual report, the greyhound industry provides a $113.0m boost to the state’s economy and supports 911 jobs.
The Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club’s lease at the showgrounds expires on May 20, this year.
Racing Queensland’s spokesman said it had been in discussions with the club “to assist them to negotiate a new arrangement with the showgrounds” and was confident of an arrangement soon.
Queensland’s Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said he recognised the need for a purpose-built, one-turn greyhound track “to replace the ageing facility at Ipswich Showgrounds”.
“Animal welfare has to be the top consideration for any replacement greyhound track – we need a safer racing surface than exists at the current track,” he said.
“I believe there’s real merit in the proposal to relocate the existing greyhound track to within Ipswich Turf Club.
“Wherever possible, I want to see race clubs across all three codes exploring options for co-location and shared facilities.”
Mr Hinchliffe said the $13 million Bundamba Turf Club upgrade proved the government was committed to Ipswich’s racing infrastructure.