$5 million election promise for Wakefield Park

Wakefield Park

Wakefield Park Raceway, in 2019

The Liberal/National Coalition has promised $5 million towards the reopening of Goulburn’s Wakefield Park Raceway ahead of next week’s New South Wales election.

The circuit has been closed indefinitely since the start of September 2022 off the back of a Land and Environment Court ruling in the preceding July which imposed tighter noise limits.

However, Wakefield Park had been at loggerheads with Goulburn Mulwaree Council over noise disputes for years, and had been operating under a temporary ‘prevention notice’ issued in January 2020.

The Coalition’s commitment is aimed at achieving a long-term solution by funding planning and future noise mitigation works.

They would be carried out under the new Wakefield Park ownership regime, with Benalla Auto Club (BAC) having just sold the facility.

Minister for Sport Alister Henskens said, “The issues around Wakefield Park Raceway are complex and require a long-term fix, not a short-term Band-Aid solution.

“The Liberal and Nationals Government has a long-term economic plan to keep NSW moving forward and this $5 million commitment will help Wakefield Park Raceway get back on track and reopen for recreational and competitive motorsport activities and events, but most importantly, plan for a sustainable future.”

Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman added, “We’ve been working hard to come up with a long-term viable solution, and the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government will continue to work with the community and stakeholders to achieve a Wakefield Park Raceway everyone can be proud of.

“By working together with our community and stakeholders, we have the best chance to shape a Wakefield Park Raceway that creates new jobs and boosts the Goulburn economy, for locals and visitors alike.”

The Coalition announcement comes after Labor Opposition Leader Chris Minns pledged $1 million towards noise mitigation work in January.

It also coincides with the surprise announcement from BAC that it has sold Wakefield Park to the owner of the nearby Pheasant Wood Circuit in Marulan, which is also part of the Goulburn Mulwaree local government area.

Tuckerman was praised in BAC’s announcement by its General Manager Stephen Whyte and new circuit owner Steve Shelley for helping to facilitate the deal.

Until such time that Wakefield Park reopens (or a new circuit opens), Sydney Motorsport Park is the only permanent race track in operation in New South Wales.

The Coalition has also committed to working with Motorsport Australia to develop a motorsport strategy for the state.

Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca said of the funding announcement, “We have been very vocal since Wakefield’s closure about the importance of this venue to motorsport.

“A commitment of this size is a big win for New South Wales and the broader motorsport community – giving many circuit racers around the state a chance to continue enjoying their passion.

“Wakefield Park has a rich history with the circuit having played host to race meetings of all levels, so to lose it would be a major blow for all and also have a detrimental economic impact on the region.

“We thank to the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government for its support of Wakefield Park.”

The Goulburn venue hosted state-level racing and had been a stop on the Australian Superbike Championship calendar, but had also been used for activities such as driver training.

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