Racing Queensland has announced it will commence concept master planning at Deagon for the establishment of a multi-purpose State Training Centre.
In conjunction with the Brisbane Racing Club, the master planning process is expected to compliment the Sandgate District Neighborhood Plan which is presently being reviewed and will 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 stable hands - 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 State Training 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.
At present, Eagle Farm is Queensland’s largest training base with the BRC’s recent infield development including a stabling complex for 430 horses.
However, with more than 50 other stables slated for demolition and occupancy already at 100% with a further waiting list, the State Training Centre would provide a remedy for one of the industry’s growing issues in a readily accessible location for South East Queensland participants.
Additionally, the increased presence of trainers, jockeys, stable hands 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.
“Racing Queensland has the opportunity to create something really special in Deagon.”
To assist the process, RQ will first conduct an economic needs analysis of the Sandgate region to determine the best use for the land which is surplus to the racing function.
Upon determining needs - and appropriate uses for the site - urban design professionals will be appointed to assist with planning and conceptual design, which will provide a basis for market testing and community consultation.
In total, the planning and conceptual design process, including statutory approvals, is expected to take between 18 to 24 months, which aligns well with the Sandgate District Neighborhood Plan.
RQ CEO 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,” Mr Parnell said.
“The BRC has set the standard in Queensland with what can be achieved through their in-field development at Eagle Farm and we look forward to partnering with them to realise a comparable vision for Deagon.”
Having acknowledged Deagon’s place in Brisbane’s racing history, 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,” Mr Bell said.
“The infield facilities at Eagle Farm has transformed the training environment there and our local trainers dominate the metropolitan premiership.
“Deagon is set to become a training centre that will consistently produce outstanding racehorses… and the BRC is excited to partner with Racing Queensland in this next phase.”