Facilities for female jockeys at Rockhampton’s Callaghan Park will receive a major upgrade as part of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to regional and country racing.
Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Cameron Dick said the $2.3 million upgrade would more than triple the capacity for female riders.
“At present, Rockhampton Jockey Club can only cater for four female jockeys in its current rooms,” the Treasurer said.
“This will take that number up to 15, with improved recovery facilities.
“The new facilities will support 23 jobs during construction and are scheduled to be completed in time for the second running of The Archer next May.
“Our Government understands how important events like The Archer and this weekend’s Rockhampton Cup are to a city like this.
“It’s why we’re delivering a new, sustainable funding model for Racing Queensland which sees all bookmakers pay their fair share, no matter where they are based.
Member for Rockhampton Barry O’Rourke welcomed the upgrade to Callaghan Park, which will also see improved flood resilience for the administration offices of the Rockhampton Jockey Club.
“Sitting beside the Fitzroy means Callaghan Park will always face some risk of flooding,” Mr O’Rourke said.
“By moving these offices up to the first floor we can reduce the impact of future natural disasters and allow RJC to get on with the job of delivering great events for our region.”
Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga said the new female change rooms were just the latest improvements at Callaghan Park that assist participants in the thoroughbred industry throughout Central Queensland.
“These new female-friendly facilities and improved flood resilience come after the delivery 40 new stables and eight feed rooms in March,” Ms Lauga said.
Racing Minister Grace Grace said Central Queensland was an essential part of the racing industry’s footprint and the project would deliver enhanced amenities for the club.
“Racing plays a key role in Central Queensland. On an annual basis, it contributes more than $55 million to the local economy, while providing more than 450 full-time jobs.
“The Callaghan Park upgrades are befitting its standing as one of Queensland’s key regional racing centres, catering for our ever-growing female riding ranks, whilst also providing much-needed flood resilience for the club.”
With the TAB Northern Queensland Winter Racing Carnival poised to get underway this week, the on-course action commences with $100,000 Rockhampton Newmarket Handicap on Friday before hosting the $150,000 Rockhampton Cup on Saturday.
The meetings follow the inaugural edition of The Archer, Queensland’s first thoroughbred slot race, which captured nation-wide attention with a raft of Group 1 runners and $440,000 up for grabs.
RJC Chair Rob Carr said ongoing infrastructure improvements at the club had been warmly received.
“Rockhampton Jockey Club is one of the busiest racing facilities across the state with close to 40 meetings stage each year,” Mr Carr said.
“Ours is the busiest racing club outside the South-East corner and a nursery for young jockeys and aspiring trainers.
“The region hosts nine pony clubs, which are always a great starting point for track riders and potentially apprentice jockeys.
“The RJC recognises the importance of racing to the state and its significance to the community in regional Australia.
“We are very appreciative of the State Government and Racing Queensland for their support.”