COMMENT: $40m investment means greyhounds here to stay
IT'S taken 13 years, but the long-awaited promise by the then Bligh government of a new greyhound track in southeast Queensland is finally a reality.
And while cynical owners, trainers and breeders will say "we'll believe it when we see it'', this is a rolled gold Treasury commitment to the biggest and best greyhound complex in the world.
Governor Paul de jersey signed the $40 million cheque at 1pm on Thursday.
It's a $40 million investment in an industry that goes from strength to strength, not just in Queensland but around the country.
The timing of the Yamanto announcement won't be lost on veteran industry observers.
Queensland is announcing the biggest infrastructure investment in the code's history on the day Greyhounds NSW hosts the world's richest dog race, the Million Dollar Chase at Wentworth Park.
Queensland may be playing catch up with NSW and Victoria but this project will ignite interest in the industry and when it opens in late 2022, there will be a conga line of trainers relocating to SE Queensland.
The plan for three tracks at the one venue, ensuring racing seven days a week, will complement a facility that includes the best of veterinary care and welfare provision.
The usual animal liberation suspects will question the investment of $40 million into greyhounds but let's not forget that gambling turnover on the dogs is at an all-time high and hundreds of millions of dollars in wagering tax goes into Queensland hospitals, schools and police numbers.
It's also important to acknowledge that the industry has aggressively pursued Integrity cheats, cleaning out the "bad apples' to ensure racing is clean and animals are not harmed.
It is essential now that the Palaszczuk Government gets on with the job of scoping the Yamanto site, and delivering on its promise.
The time frame stretches out to 2022, so there will be plenty of time to secure the necessary development approvals.
Building such a big project will take at least 12 months.
The Beattie Government promised a new track at Logan and this never came to fruition.
It is essential that the industry not be let down again.
For its part, Racing Queensland has finally been able to deliver good news for battle-weary dog trainers.
RQ has delivered in spades for the thoroughbred industry on infrastructure, so it is timely that the dogs get a big announcement.
Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe must be given a big tick for coming through, despite Treasury reticence.
Board member Dale Cartwright is said to have been vocal on this issue.
The new club will merge the Brisbane and Ipswich entities.
For Albion Park, which has blossomed under the leadership of chairman Les Bein and CEO Luke Gatehouse, it means saying goodbye to Albion Park.
There will be few tears when Brisbane finally farewells Albion Park.
It is a tricky track for dogs and punters and the facilities - especially the broadcast box - are not in keeping with 21st century standards.
Albion Park will most likely be sold and used for the 2032 Olympics, if we get the nod.
The trots will have to relocate, as they should.
The new Yamanto track will be the best greyhound complex in the world. Nothing compares.
It's the best possible news for the pan lickers and it will set the industry up for the next century.