The Queensland Government has published its infrastructure plan for the racing industry, investing $200 million in two new greyhound tracks and night-time horse racing.
The plan was based on feedback from the recent infrastructure submission process, independent research, stakeholder engagement and Racing Queensland’s venue inspection database.
Animal Liberation Queensland and Greyhound New Beginnings condemned the plan, telling the ABC that the government was not taking greyhound welfare seriously enough.
"It seems to be a pretty desperate attempt to claw back some public favour but people know that racing can't exist without overbreeding and exploitation of these dogs." New Beginnings' Josh Harrison said.
According to Racing Queensland, a clear plan was needed after the research process identified that were infrastructure needs of $198 million and a $78 million shortfall because there was only $120 million available through the Racing Infrastructure Fund (RIF).
Racing Queensland CEO Dr Eliot Forbes said the focus will be on fulfilling the infrastructure needs of industry and generating commercial income from industry assets.
“Our vision to connect people through the thrill of racing can only become reality if we deliver on the wide range of infrastructure needs and grow racing and non-racing revenue," he said.
Racing Minister Grace Grace welcomed the $120 million blueprint, announcing a $6 million country and regional racing package and a $13 million project for the Ipswich Turf Club.
Projects for potential funding include on-course stabling at Townsville Turf Club, an upgrade to the course at Doomben, renovation of the synthetic track on the Sunshine Coast, a contribution to the sports club at Toowoomba and expansion of the on-course stabling in Cairns.
Racing Queensland is close to selecting two final sites that will drive the growth of greyhound racing in South-East Queensland. The venues will provide new homes for the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club and the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club and will be designed for optimal greyhound performance and safety, with air-conditioned kennels, veterinary and training services.
“The focus is on fulfilling the infrastructure needs of industry and generating commercial income from industry assets," Forbes said.
"We also aim to create enduring community benefits and improve club sustainability.”