By Liam Emerton
Motoring across Central Queensland could be getting a huge upgrade in the near future with a $10 million promise on the cards.
The money, promised by the federal government if they are reelected, is a third of what is ideal for the site itself, but it’s a step in the right direction for Central Queensland.
Central Queensland Motorsport Club will be the beneficiary of the funding, but it truly will bring a boost to the greater community.
In Rockhampton we have seen the positive effects that Rockynats has had on our city, and the newest addition to that will be this proposed motoring precinct.
For Central Queensland Motorsport Club president Brendon Wrigley it’s been over a decade of fighting to get this off the ground.
“It’s the closest we’ve come to securing a precinct. We’ve been pushing from about 2010 or thereabouts to get a motorsport facility in the area,” he said.
“We’re very happy about it. The business case is looking for about $30 million, so it’s not all the way there but it gets us enough to secure land and get a bit of it underway and stage the development.
“One of the first things we need to do is secure a site. We have a site in mind but it’s still theoretical at the moment.
“After that there will be development approvals through the local council to get it zoned correctly.
“Looking at staging, we will be looking to get the best bang for our buck.
“There will be a fair bit of planning, information gathering and dotting the Is and crossing the Ts.”
The team at the Central Queensland Motorsport Club thought they had secured a precinct in Bouldercombe but that was ripped away from them when the Rockhampton Regional Council made the decision to put the purchasing of land in the area on hold.
This time the election commitment looks to be the perfect catalyst for the State Government and the Rockhampton Regional Council to jump on board with.
The ideal plan with the $30 million needed to complete the project would see a facility suitable for world-class racing to be held in our region.
“Ideally our primary goal is a decent circuit,” said Wrigley.
“For a lot of our members who are into tarmac circuit racing, it’s an 8 or 9 hour drive down to the south-east corner or eight hours the other way to get to Townsville once that one is opened by the end of the year.
“There’s a pretty big hole in this area and it is not just for competing it could also be for practising or tuning.
“It’s a big commitment to go away just to see if your car is going to work essentially.
“Other options which are on the table but we haven’t explored too far are to have a speedway and drags and other related motorsport activities that could fit there.
“As I said the primary thing is a circuit that is of a standard to get some of the bigger series here, potentially not the V8s Supercars but the next tier down.
“And then a skid pan or a flat concerted area for driver safety courses and education as well.”
For Wrigley the project should not be overlooked as he and many others believe it’s a priority for our region to have a world-class motorsport precinct in Rockhampton.
“Central Queensland as a region has continued to produce a lot of state, national and international drivers and a lot of them have won series around the world,” he said.
“It’s a very well-supported sport in terms of community but it’s not well-supported in terms of facilities.
“We’re keen to see it happen and it’ll be a great asset for the community.
“Even those that aren’t into motorsport, it gives us another facility.
“I know down south they use some of the other facilities for open-air concerts and other things like that.
“Even if you’re not into motorsports, like Rockynats, the accommodations and hospitality industries, having that drawcard will bring a lot more money into the local community.
“I think it will be a pretty valuable asset to the wider community.”
Senator Matt Canavan said this $10 million investment will give life to a new Central Queensland Motor Sports Precinct that will benefit the entirety of Central Queensland.
“This will give opportunities for BMX, Go Karts, Motor X, Speedway, Drag Strips, and V8 Supercar events to be held at one dedicated facility right here in Central Queensland,” Senator Canavan said.
“This Motorsports precinct will not only enable another level of Motor Sports but the opportunity for driver education courses in a controlled environment.
“This will be yet another reason for people to come visit our region, and will see huge growth potential for the CQ Motor Sporting Club.“
Rockhampton Regional Mayor Tony Williams said that the Council supports a motorsport precinct being built in Central Queensland but is yet to be approached about this current project.
“Council had previously been looking into the possibility of a motorsport precinct in Bouldercombe, however, due to competing priorities, it was decided to not go ahead with the project,” he said.
“In this current climate we need to focus on more immediate and substantial infrastructure priorities to sustain and support growth in our region, including key water, sewerage and road projects.
“Unfortunately, we are constrained by the financial impacts of Covid-19, reduced financial assistance grants funding, and the ongoing increasing costs of carting water to Mount Morgan.
“In principle, Council supports the development of a motorsport precinct, and we are supportive of any other organisation moving forward who is able to progress this project.
“At this point in time Council have received no requests for financial assistance towards this project.”