By HARRY CLARKE
THE Wagner Corporation has warned the economic benefits to the Toowoomba region from its proposed motorsport, entertainment and accommodation precinct at Wellcamp are at risk of being snatched by southern rivals unless the Federal Government commits funding to support the project.
Wagner Corporation Executive General Manager Damian Bell also said building the company’s $170 million Wellcamp Entertainment Precinct would be fundamental to Toowoomba being included in plans to host sporting events during the 2032 Olympic Games.
Speaking at a Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) networking event, Bell said an announcement last week that the Avalon Airport near Geelong had received $1.6 million from the Victorian Government for a feasibility study to build a major motorsports facility adjacent to the airport posed a threat to the company’s vision at Wellcamp.
“Aside from the fact that I wish they (Avalon Airport) had their own ideas, we need to seize this opportunity because they will be competing with us,” Bell (pictured) said.
“This (Wellcamp) project is ready to go. We need community support for it because this will be put forward and progressed because of community support.
“It won’t just be the Wagner Corporation and the Wagner family that will propel this into success and completion. It will be the community that backs it and achieves it.
“It is an absolutely key piece, as well, to our Olympics preparations. It provides us with the destination brand, the tourism connections, the transport connection and the hotel accommodation that we need to secure and maintain our Olympic presence.”
In October 2020 the Wagner Corporation announced plans to build a multipurpose motorsport and entertainment precinct on company-owned land south west of the Wellcamp Airport.
The Wellcamp Entertainment Precinct would include world class racing tracks, driver training facilities, 4WD circuits, hotels, and a 40,000 seat amphitheatre as well as Olympics-standard sporting fields.
The Queensland Government has promised to contribute $40 million to the project provided the Federal Government matches the funding. So far there’s been no commitment from Canberra.
The Wagner Corporation would spend $95 million on the precinct, which would support 130 jobs during construction and up to 2,500 jobs when hosting major events.
“The event schedule is ready to go,” Bell said.
“All of the organisational bodies are behind us – Motorsport Australia, the FIA (Federation Internationale de lAutomobile), the motor sports industry in general and the education industry.
“In the coming months we’ll be working with the tourism organisations and councils, and everyone locally, to try and get a lot of broad support from the community to do this.”
Last week the Victorian Government announced $1.6 million would be spent designing and planning a proposed “Home of Motorsport” on a 150ha plot within the Avalon Airport Precinct.
Replacing the Sandown raceway, the new “super circuit” facility would cost up to $250 million and include a multi-use motorsport hub, driver training facility and automotive test centre. It would host a Supercars championship event soon after beginning operation in 2026.
“Don’t be fooled that that’s not at risk,” said Bell, adding that progress on the Wellcamp Entertainment Precinct would be essential for Toowoomba to be considered an Olympics destination.
“We will have people come to our region to assess us to see whether we’re capable of performing and executing at an Olympic level.,” he said.
“Without improvements in transport, communication and accommodation, that is absolutely at risk. We need to stay involved in that conversation.
“We must make sure that the people who are in those rooms are not only thinking about Toowoomba and the difference that we can make, but that we absolutely do deserve a present at an Olympics.”
George Barham, an accomplished journalist and avid gambling enthusiast, serves as the esteemed Editor-in-Chief at fly-to-australia.com, Australia’s leading source for comprehensive gambling news and insights. With an unwavering passion for both the written word and the ever-evolving world of betting and gaming, George brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the helm of our editorial team.