Minister gives Ipswich track plan reprieve on eve of the cup
ON THE eve of the city's biggest racing event, Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has delivered the news the Ipswich Turf Club had been hoping for.
Despite a decision earlier this year not to proceed with the original plan for the Bundamba facility's multi-million-dollar refurbishment due to increasing costs, Mr Hinchliffe advised this afternoon that the decision had been made to deliver the redevelopment "as originally proposed".
Mr Hinchliffe confirmed this would include the tie-up stalls, which were controversially wiped from the construction project in May when Racing Queensland advised that the money would be needed to instead focus on improvements to the course proper.
That decision was met with significant opposition by Turf Club chairman Wayne Patch, who found an ally in Member for Bundamba Jo-Ann Miller, who championed Ipswich's cause.
Mr Hinchliffe said it was vital for the future of events like this weekend's Ipswich Cup to stick with the initial plan.
"Ahead of the Ipswich Cup this weekend, I am pleased to confirm the redevelopment of Ipswich Turf Club will be delivered as originally proposed, in-full, including the tie-up stalls," Mr Hinchliffe said in a statement.
"Racing Queensland has been working collaboratively with the Ipswich Turf Club to deliver, in full, its commitments to them.
"The Ipswich Turf Club redevelopment is now the single biggest infrastructure project currently being delivered by Racing Queensland, a refurbishment which is 30 years in the making.
"Therefore, it is vital for the commercial future of the club that all elements are delivered, including tie up stalls and car parking within a time frame that is reasonable to all stakeholders including the club.
"I look forward to going out to Ipswich on Saturday and meeting with the club, inspecting the facilities, meeting punters and enjoying the Ipswich Cup."
Not forgetting what he said were "issues" with the condition of the Ipswich track, Mr Hinchliffe said Racing Queensland would have to work with the Turf Club to come up with a solution.
Ipswich Turf Club has previously argued that there is no urgent need to conduct any major work on the course itself, despite acknowledging that there are inherent drainage issues.