The headquarters of Racing Queensland in the seaside Brisbane suburb of Deagon is to undergo a major redevelopment as an education and training centre.
Deagon is one of the oldest racetracks in Queensland but has been mainly a training centre since it stopped regular race meetings in the early 1940s.
It was to hold its annual meeting on Sunday but the once a year event was washed out.
Deagon has been the headquarters of RQ for more than a decade after it moved from CBD offices.
On Monday, RQ announced it would begin concept master planning at Deagon for the establishment of a multi-purpose state training centre.
In a media release, RQ said in conjunction with the Brisbane Racing Club, the master planning process was expected to complement the Sandgate District Neighborhood Plan which was presently being reviewed.
It would also support the heritage requirements placed on Deagon to maintain its status as a racing and sporting precinct.
The state training centre is viewed as a key solution to the declining stabling numbers in south east Queensland – along with providing a training environment for apprentice jockeys and stablehands – and forms part of a significant reform agenda for RQ designed to support its commercial and strategic objectives.
The BRC, which is the current track tenant at Deagon, will play a pivotal role in the process given their demonstrated expertise in commercial re-development and master planning.
Under the RQ proposal, the centre would cater for more than 200 horses at Deagon, quadrupling current stable numbers, and is expected to create 60 new racing jobs in the region, along with up to 900 jobs throughout the life of the construction phase.
The increased presence of trainers, jockeys, stablehands and farriers will inject millions into the Sandgate economy.
“The establishment of a multi-purpose State Training Centre would be a game changer for Deagon,” Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said.
“In addition to the racing and commercial opportunities, the concept master planning will explore additional green space areas that could provide an integral piece of community infrastructure.”
RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell said while the racing industry needed to maximise the commercial value of Deagon, the master planning also provided an ideal platform to address a growing industry requirement through the development of additional on-course stabling and enhanced training and industry amenities.
“A consolidated equine training and education super-centre can assist with that, and at the same time, would solve one of our more pressing issues due to the ongoing decline of residential stabling,” Parnell said.
BRC chairman Neville Bell said the club welcomed the opportunity to work with RQ on the critical industry project.
“This is an exciting announcement for the racing industry and Queensland and the Brisbane Racing Club is looking forward to playing a role,” Bell said.