Stage 1 Work Underway on Driver Training Pad at DriveIT NQ at Calcium. BMD project manager Thomas Adsett. Picture: Evan Morgan
Stage 1 Work Underway on Driver Training Pad at DriveIT NQ at Calcium. BMD project manager Thomas Adsett. Picture: Evan Morgan

TURBO BOOST: Labor throws cash to finish DriveIT NQ

The state government has pledged $10m to help complete a North Queensland project 16 years in the making and will fuel the motorsport industry across the region.

It's a major win for DriveIT NQ, which is made up of a dozen local clubs and organisations devoted to the establishment of a driver education and motorsport precinct.

DriveIT NQ will consist of a drag strip, speedway, skid pan and allow learner drivers to undertake effective road safety education.The project is currently undergoing stage one construction, with the completed site to be North Queensland's first permanent driver education and motorsport facility.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Brisbane. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said while the world was dealing with the economic impacts of COVID-19, Queensland's management of the health response meant the state could keep delivering its economic recovery plan.

"A key part of Queensland's economic recovery plan is investing in infrastructure," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"And this project comes on top of other significant infrastructure in the region and means more support for more jobs."

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper, who was a drag racer in his younger days, said the project would support 55 construction jobs and 140-plus ongoing permanent jobs.

"This is something I've been discussing with our local community for quite some time," Mr Harper said.

Aaron Harper at the announcement of the initial planning stages for a Townsville University Hospital expansion. Picture: Caitlan Charles
Aaron Harper at the announcement of the initial planning stages for a Townsville University Hospital expansion. Picture: Caitlan Charles

"It's fantastic news for motorsport enthusiasts. We are the motorsport capital of North Queensland and now we can proudly go racing in our own city.

"I've advocated for this funding and I'm pleased to be able to deliver it. I can't wait to go racing."

DriveIT NQ board member Greg Fitzgerald told the Townsville Bulletin last month they were seeking $12 million from the state government to cover stage three.

"(The $12m) will cover off the higher-level product, so things like expanding the pit areas, putting in the earth bund so we can run those high-level events," Mr Fitzgerald said.

Roland Dane, Director of DriveIT NQ Paul Morris and Chairman of DriveIT NQ Pat Driscoll at the Reid Park Circuit. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Roland Dane, Director of DriveIT NQ Paul Morris and Chairman of DriveIT NQ Pat Driscoll at the Reid Park Circuit. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

"As a completed product, Drive-IT is worth $35m-$40m a year to the Townsville economy.

"So really, a $12m spend is money well spent and this project has a lifespan of about 40 to 50 years, so it adds up."

Townsville has been largely without a dedicated motorsport complex since Townsville Dragway closed in 2012, giving way to a residential housing development.

Before that the city's speedway closed in 2007.

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart welcomed the funding.

"We've been selling the case of funding DriveIT NQ as an investment in road safety that would also bring in other positives, such as opportunities for training Defence and emergency services personnel along with increasing tourism," Mr Stewart said.

Scott Stewart. Picture: Caitlan Charles
Scott Stewart. Picture: Caitlan Charles

"Work is already underway on the intersection at the site thanks to a $5 million investment from the Palaszczuk Government and this will be a welcome announcement for the large motorsport community in Townsville."

The funding follows consecutive weekends of well-supported Supercars racing earlier this month in Townsville.

The city attracts as many as 150,000 people to the annual Townsville 400 Supercars and boasts more than 12 motor sports clubs.

Today's $10 million State funding follows a $5 million upgrade already underway at the nearby Flinders Highway, Woodstock-Giru Road intersection to improve access to the Lansdown Industrial Precinct.

The TMR project team is expected to finish works there at the end of October.

Originally published as TURBO BOOST: Labor throws cash to finish DriveIT NQ


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