By Racing Qld Chief Executive Officer BRENDAN PARNELL
The resilience of the Queensland greyhound racing industry has been on full display over the past month.
Following the South East Queensland floods, significant rectification works have been required at Albion Park and Capalaba, with Ipswich having to shoulder an incredible workload during the outages.
Our appreciation is extended to their committee, members and volunteers.
In conjunction with the Albion Park Harness Racing Club, the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club has done a phenomenal job leading the clean-up at the venue.
Presently, the electrical infrastructure is on track to be repaired – and replaced in some instances – with an aim to come on-line in the coming weeks.
A building assessment conducted by local contractors has also taken place and we will look to proceed with remediation works once a contractor has been appointed.
Further updates, including rescheduled meetings, will be posted on the RQ website and through industry channels.
Size and Scope of the Queensland racing industry
RQ has released its latest economic data, with the Queensland racing industry’s annual contribution to the state’s economy growing to a record-high of $1.9 billion, which represents a 58% increase from FY16.
Delivered by IER – a specialist in the tourism, events and entertainment industries – the latest Size and Scope Report outlines the economic benefit of the racing industry to Queensland.
Another important highlight showed full-time jobs had increased from 12,643 in FY19 to 13,581 in FY21, an increase of more than 7%.
The increase continues the industry’s rapid rise since FY16 with 4,035 (+42%) new jobs created over the last five years.
The full report will be available on the RQ website in early April.
Sound half year for Queensland racing
We were pleased to release our half results for the 2021/22 financial year with sound progress being realised across the industry.
Key highlights include revenue remaining steady on a year-on-year basis at $188 million despite the cessation of the QTAB minimum payment obligation, and a growth in returns to participants by 13.6% ($15.2 million to $126.9 million).
Returns to participants included an additional $8 million in prizemoney (+9.5%), $500,000 for jockeys and drivers’ fees (+4.9%), $6 million for critical racing infrastructure and club funding (+33.2%) and $800,000 for animal care initiatives.
It was also encouraging to report an improvement in attendances and participation – an increase of 16.8% to 394,139 – has been achieved after navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the greyhound code specifically, we’ve seen 3,499 races run thus far in the financial year (+5.3%), with turnover reaching almost one billion dollars – up a staggering 24.5% from the same period last year.
You can read the full announcement on Page 9.
BGRC anniversary celebrations
As touched on last month, this year marks the 50-year anniversary of the Brisbane Greyhound Racing Club, having commenced racing operations at the Gabba in 1972.
In celebration, the Club had planned a showcase evening at Albion Park on Thursday, April 14, however it was recently advised that the event has been postponed due to uncertainty around the return to full business operations.
We will continue to liaise with the Club to confirm a new date for the event and will communicate this as soon as possible.
Greater Brisbane Greyhound Centre update
With community consultation closing in mid-February, planning approval via Ministerial Infrastructure Designation continues, with state government bodies also having provided their input.
All relevant queries are now being addressed in a final report that will be considered in the immediate future by the Planning Minister, prior to the final decision being made.
Meanwhile, the project’s design continues to be advanced and refined, with specialist consultants appointed to assist with the coordination of the venue and track naming process.
Ipswich anniversary evening
Finally, the Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club is set to celebrate its 40th anniversary in style on April 16.
The bumper meeting will feature the Ipswich Auction Series Final, and a special feature event carrying total stakes of $25,000
The feature will be staged over 520 metres for the best eight greyhounds nominated, based on Ipswich times during the past 12 months.
The Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club has so much to be proud of in its long and successful history, and this night will serve as a deserved celebration.
A saturated Albion Park racing facility. Again, the resilience of the industry has come to the fore.