AS the State Government continues massive flood relief operations in Central Queensland, Racing Queensland Limited (RQL) has pledged a $1.55 million rescue package to keep the regional racing industry afloat.
RQL chairman Bob Bentley today announced two tiers of flood relief funding; a $1 million facility remediation fund for racing and training infrastructure; and a $550,000 licensee relief and relocation package that allocates benefits of up to $7500 for trainers and jockey’s.
Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park will remain almost completely underwater for up to two weeks and is expected to receive the bulk of the funding.
“The racing industry in Rockhampton is facing one of its darkest hours with floodwaters engulfing Callaghan Park and placing significant uncertainty around the short term future of racing in Central Queensland,” says Bentley.
“This is a real blow as the new Rockhampton track was fast gaining recognition as a premium racing facility able to cope with major rainfall events while still providing an optimum racing surface.
“Today’s announcement is aimed at providing access to critical funds for those licensee groups unable to ply their trade due to the closure of Callaghan Park for training and racing. RQL is determined that it gives the necessary support to Central Queensland to allow racing to return to normal as soon as the crisis passes.”
To date Warwick, Rockhampton, Bundaberg and Capalaba have lodged issues of importance with RQL. Bentley confirmed Warwick has been identified as urgent because of the number of licensees that rely on the facility for training.
RQL’s contribution comes just weeks after the peak industry body committed $49 million to its latest asset, The Gold Coast Turf Club.
The spending is to upgrade the racing and training facilities at the Gold Coast to a metropolitan standard as part of RQL’s Industry Infrastructure Plan.
Bob Bentley says the entire multi-million dollar plan is about using existing industry venues more strategically, creating new multi-use facilities and modernising racing operations.
“This is an important time for the Gold Coast and the racing industry as a whole. Should this Industry Infrastructure Plan be implemented it would provide the single biggest capital injection into the Queensland racing industry,” he says.
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