THE Gold Coast has secured the Magic Millions until at least 2017 following a $15.7 million funding pledge from the State Government today.
Premier Anna Bligh says the increased funding will be delivered through Queensland Events and ‘cements the Gold Coast as the events capital of Queensland and a premier tourism destination’.
"There was strong interest from New South Wales and Victoria in taking this event away from Queensland so I'm extremely pleased to announce that it is staying at its rightful home - the Gold Coast,” says Bligh.
"Queensland gets major bang for our buck from State Government support of this prestigious event. An independent economic impact study of the 2008 Magic Millions conservatively estimated that the event contributed at least $24.6 million to the Queensland economy and an additional $27.3 million in publicity value.”
The Premier refers to the same economic impact study that Magic Millions co-owners Gerry Harvey and John Singelton used as ammunition to slam the government’s lack of support during the 2010 event.
While not quite matching the request of $5 million per year by the event’s animated co-owners – Magic Millions managing director David Chester (pictured) says the funding will ensure a successful partnership with Queensland Events.
"This partnership has delivered to the Gold Coast prominent racing identities from Australia and overseas,” says Chester.
“There is no racing (or) sales event anywhere that offers the same attraction as the Gold Coast. The global publicity this Carnival attracts is great for the Gold Coast tourism industry. Here we are not talking about paid advertising but live coverage through Magic Millions marketing.
"You only have to talk with hotels, restaurants, limo and taxi companies and as they will tell you, there is nothing like Magic Millions sales time."
Tourism and Racing Minister and Member for Southport Peter Lawlor, says the injection is part of an $80 million package to redevelop key racing industry facilities across the state.
"A priority is a major redevelopment of the Gold Coast Turf Club, home of the Magic Millions," he says.
"This event drives up interest in Queensland bred yearlings and Queensland trained thoroughbreds and stimulates investment in the Queensland horse breeding industry.
"Queensland horses are attractive to international buyers because we have a reputation for breeding value-for-money thoroughbreds.”
The funding comes as welcome news for Gold Coast Turf Club following Queensland Racings’ decision to appoint a forensic accountant to check its books last month.
This year's Magic Millions racing carnival and yearling sales turned over $76 million and was attended by buyers from 16 countries.
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