Motorsport precinct abandoned by major parties

ONE week out from the Townsville 400 Supercars race, Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has given both major political parties a rev up for failing to fully back a game-changing motorsport precinct west of Townsville.

Motorsport body Drive It NQ’s $23.3 million proposal for an all-in-one facility at Calcium still needs a further $18.3 million in funding to be fully realised.

“In a week’s time we will see thousands of motorsport enthusiasts flock to Townsville to watch an international event in a city that ironically does not have its own dedicated motorsport facility,” the Katter’s Australian Party MP said.

“We will see politicians scrambling to get a photo with their favourite driver, yet none of them will stand up and financially back the construction of a motorsport complex North Queensland badly needs.

“It’s time for the State Government and the Federal Coalition to pull out their wallets and make it happen.”

Drive It NQ director and chairman Pat Driscoll said once established, the facility would contribute an estimated $35 million per year in economic benefits for Townsville.

“This is a unique business case where we have a motorsport facility that funds a driver education facility, so we’re getting plenty of bang for our buck,” he said.
“As well as that, we have the ability to save lives.”

Other aspects of the proposed facility include advanced and defensive driving courses, emergency services training and a 4X4 adventure park.

In February 2016, Townsville City Council signed a long-term lease with Drive It NQ over a council-owned tract of land at Calcium where the facility will be based.

Currently, the facility only has a $5 million commitment from the Federal Government that was secured by Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party as an election promise, with Mr Driscoll saying Drive It would be forced to start construction of the facility within the next three months despite it being underfunded.

“The window on this opportunity is closing rapidly and the government should step in now,” he said.

“We can’t sit on the $5 million forever.”

Mr Dametto said fully funding the facility should be an easy decision for both the State and Federal governments.

“Considering how many billions of taxpayer’s money is wasted on schemes and projects each year that give little financial return, the $18.3 million extra needed to build this project is a drop in the ocean for something that will promote motorsport and provide vital driver education training for decades to come,” he said.

“This project will benefit thousands of motorsport enthusiasts and young drivers in North Queensland.

“I haven’t heard one word in parliament from Townsville’s three Labor MPs or the LNP Member for Burdekin Dale Last about this project, which is actually in his electorate.

“You’ve got to ask yourself if Mr Last is serious about supporting motorsport in North Queensland. I don’t reckon he is.”

Nick Dametto MP