Day At The Track

Dispute could hold up other infrastructure plans

10:14 AM 13 Aug 2017 NZST
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Albion Park
Albion Park

Is the standoff over the future of Albion Park causing the delay in other infrastructure project allocations and announcements?

Racing Queensland chief executive Eliot Forbes was quoted in February saying advice to government on infrastructure plans would be given “towards the end of March” but as we sit here in mid-August, the only major announcement has been funding for Ipswich.

Gold Coast continues to wait in the wings on what its allocation, if any, will be from the available funds. The club has been waiting since 2011, when it was allocated infrastructure funding under former RQ chairman Bob Bentley.

RQ has $53 million at its disposal for infrastructure as part of the 2014 UBET deal, but is clearly hoping to swell that pot. Albion Park and the Tabcorp merger with Tatts are the two immediate possibilities of achieving that.

RQ’s initial plans to sell Albion Park were scuttled by council.

The Albion Park Harness Racing Club countered with a Kevin Seymour-inspired proposal that would keep the track and provide for a big capital injection.

However, it assumed all profits would go to harness racing and provocatively offered RQ “rental space” at the refurbished premises.

RQ is in no doubt it is the legal owner of Albion Park, a point acknowledged by APHRC chairman David Fowler in a recent Radio TAB interview with Forbes.

The proposal put forward by Seymour is a good one — if the two parties can agree on how the spoils are shared. A joint venture would seem the logical way forward, but right now, it’s a stalemate — to the detriment of other urgently needed projects.


No doubt the Eagle Farm debacle hasn’t helped infrastructure announcements, given money will be taken from that pot to fund the rebuild.

A “project control group”, including RQ and the BRC, has been established and will meet ON Monday to discuss the final elements of the scope of the project and finalise “critical timelines”.

Specifications are being finalised so that a tender can go out over the next month.

Racing Queensland is in the process of investigating options for sand and turf supplies.

“Talks are underway with several quarries for the sand required. Testing of sand samples is continuing to find the right material for the job,” RQ said in a statement.

“Initial discussions have also been held with turf suppliers to ensure the right turf can be supplied in the quality and quantity required.”

By Nathan Exelby, The Sunday Mail (Qld)

Reprinted with permission of The Courier Mail

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