ROCKY RACING: Wonder Boom, ridden by Matthew McGillivray, wins the 2019 XXXX Gold Newmarket Handicap at Callaghan Park.
ROCKY RACING: Wonder Boom, ridden by Matthew McGillivray, wins the 2019 XXXX Gold Newmarket Handicap at Callaghan Park.

Racing injects $38m into CQ economy

THE Queensland racing industry's annual contribution to the Central Queensland economy exceeds more than $38 million, Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has announced.

Today Mr Hinchliffe released new economic data commissioned by Racing Queensland which outlines the size and scope of the $1.5 billion racing industry to the state's economy.

Across Central Queensland, which takes in 14 clubs from Yeppoon to Emerald and Thangool, the racing industry was responsible for generating $38.3 million in value to the local economy in 2017/18, while sustaining 327 full-time jobs.

With almost 2,700 participants involved in the region, the thoroughbred code was primarily responsible for the majority of the economic contribution ($34.2 million), while greyhounds ($3.4 million) and harness ($700,000) also made meaningful contributions.

Central Queensland racing: Central Queensland racing stats
Central Queensland racing: Central Queensland racing stats

In a sign of racing's popularity in Central Queensland, 50,000 people attended race meetings in the area, including the highly popular Gladstone and Rockhampton Cups.

"The Queensland racing industry plays a significant role in the social and economic fabric of the state," Mr Hinchliffe said.

"In Central Queensland alone, there are 2667 participants who are directly involved - many of them running their own small businesses which contribute significantly to the state's economy - and who derive great joy and pleasure from their roles within the industry.

"With more than 900 races conducted across Central Queensland each year, more than 50,000 attendees, 1500 owners and 1500 club members are able to experience the thrill of racing."

Mr Hinchliffe said in recent times, the Palaszczuk Government had invested heavily in Central Queensland, with the Gladstone Turf Club receiving a $195,000 grant through the Country Racing Support Package in June to upgrade its amenities including towers, running rail and repairs to the track.

The Yeppoon Turf Club also received $80,000 to upgrade its running rail and refurbish its irrigation system, while Emerald Jockey Club received $32,000 to assist its mounting yard and fencing.

Across the state, the new economic data demonstrated the Queensland racing industry was responsible for generating more than $1.5 billion in value to the state's economy, while sustaining 11,570 jobs.

The industry also supplied 7852 volunteers, with 448 of those assisting clubs and participants across Central Queensland.

Racing Queensland chairman Steve Wilson said the organisation existed to champion great racing and events which connected Queensland communities.

"We are mindful that our 40,000 participants, inclusive of our 129 racing clubs, are the lifeblood of our industry and continue to serve at the coalface of our sport, which is why we have worked diligently during my time on the board to increase returns and to make it more affordable to race," he said.

"We continue to look for new ways to innovate including the introduction of the highly successful Northern Crowns series, along with the TAB Battle of the Bush.

"The qualifiers at Emerald and Thangool have been particular highlights for the Battle of the Bush.

"With 43% of the $1.5 billion in value added contribution being realised in regional economies, it underlines the significance of the size and scope of the Queensland racing industry.

"We remain steadfast in our commitment to encourage people to buy, breed and race in the Sunshine State."