Supercars star Madison Dunstan says DriveIt NQ facility necessary for local talent to thrive:
July 3 2019, Madura McCormack for Townsville Bulletin
TOWNSVILLE Supercars speedster Madison Dunston has championed the need for DriveIT NQ to be built as a matter of urgency. Dunston, who will race in the ECB SuperUtes during the Townsville 400 this weekend, said the facility would grow racing in the region.
Dunston said she had to travel long distances to Queensland’s Winton Park Raceway if she ever wanted to get practice time in the car. It would help a lot to be able to just go down the road and practice. Not having to fly all the way down south,” she said. “We would also get more laps in because we wouldn’t have that limited time (at the track). “It does need to be chop-chop. It is taking a bit of time. I do know it will happen, we just have to wait.”
Townsville local Madison Dunston, 20, will take on the ECB SuperUtes Series during the Townsville 400 next weekend. Picture: Shae Beplate.
The motorsport facility, which would be built at Calcium, is expected to cost $23 million, with the organisation asking for $18.5 million from the Federal and State governments. Stage 1 of DriveIT NQ, has secured $5 million in federal funding, with Herbert MP Phil Thompson promising during the election campaign that the LNP Government would commit $7 million more. DriveIT NQ chair Pat Driscoll said he had recently spoken to Mr Thompson and felt “comfortable” the money would be delivered in the upcoming financial year. Mr Driscoll said he felt the same way about the State Government’s recent $5 million investment to build a crucial road intersection needed to access the DriveIT NQ facility.
“We need to get the facility fully functional because not only will it bring economic benefit, it will provide opportunity for local talented people such as Maddy,” he said. “We’ve signed contracts and we are in final design stages for our first piece of infrastructure out there that is spending the first $5 million that we’ve got, which is a large vehicle manoeuvring area.” Mr Thompson said the project was close to “everyone’s heart in North Queensland” and was essential for the region. “It has a few different elements; it has driver safety, a place for car enthusiasts to go to and it’s also a place that will create jobs.” Mr Thompson called on the State Government to pitch in funds beyond $5 million for the intersection and commit to paying for a part of DriveIT NQ.
State Government to spend $5M building intersection leading to DriveIT NQ and Imperium3 facility
July 11 2019, Madura McCormack for Townsville Bulletin
A CRUCIAL road intersection needed to access the proposed lithium-ion battery plant and the neighbouring DriveIt NQ will be built. Thuringowa MP Aaron Harper revealed the State Government had set aside $5 million in the Budget, to be handed down today, to advance the Woodstock intersection upgrade on the Flinders Highway. “This will help access the area that may accommodate both the Imperium3 battery manufacturing and DriveIt proposals,” he said. The DriveIt NQ project itself won’t get state funding this time around, but interim chair Pat Driscoll said the intersection upgrade was “as good as money to the project”. “Not only will that allow us to move forward with our project, it opens up all of that land that council has earmarked,” Mr Driscoll said. “If we build something and they will come, we need a way for them to get there.”
Mr Driscoll had been in talks with Townsville MP Scott Stewart and Mr Harper in recent weeks hoping to secure the remaining $11.5 million the project needs. The Federal Government has already committed $12 million to the project, with $7 million of that promised during the election campaign. Townsville City Council has also backed the project, agreeing to lease the 480ha plot of land to DriveIt NQ for 12 years.
“That’s all we’ve ever asked for, commitment from all three levels of government,” Mr Driscoll said. Mr Stewart said local MPs had been selling the case of funding DriveIt NQ as an investment in road safety that would also bring in “big picture” positives, such as opportunities for training Defence and emergency services personnel and a chance to open the area up as an industrial park. DriveIt NQ estimates the project will generate $34.8 million in economic benefit, 90 full-time jobs during construction and 148 equivalent ongoing full-time jobs. The first stage is a 2.4ha concrete pad, classrooms and ablutions for driver education, including for heavy vehicle rollover recovery. Other uses in further stages include a drag strip, speedway and race circuit. The $2 billion lithium-ion battery plant is expected to take about two and a half years to commission and has the potential to generate up to 1000 operational jobs.
Competition heats up for DriveIt NQ funding as LNP offers $12M
May 13 2019, Kate Banville for Townsville Bulletin
A LAST-MINUTE funding pledge from the LNP has edged DriveIt NQ closer to the finish line.
The LNP candidate for Herbert Phil Thompson made a surprise announcement to spectators at a rally yesterday, promising an extra $7 million to the project if elected. “I was on the phone to the DPM (Deputy Prime Minister) right before stepping on stage and he gave me the green light,” Mr Thompson said. “This is something I’ve been fighting for.” The major motorsport facility, which would be built at Calcium, is expected to cost a total of $23 million, leaving the organisation $11 million short of where it needs to be for construction.
Stage 1 of DriveIt NQ has already secured $5 million in Federal Government funding, bringing the total LNP investment to $12 million, in line with Labor’s promise. More than 200 supporters had their cars on show at Jezzine Park to hear from candidates in the Dawson and Herbert electorates. John Womersley travels interstate for circuit track race meets and can’t see why Townsville couldn’t replicate its model.
“Warwick is probably the best comparison you could use,” Mr Womersley said. “To me it’s a no-brainer; I just don’t understand if it’s an environmental thing they’re worried about or no one wants to back motorsport.” Mr Womersley isn’t happy that the project hasn’t progressed in 15 years and said the politically charged car rally wasn’t going to sway his vote anyway. “They’ll jump on bonnets and tell you what you want to hear; but you wait, when the election’s over you won’t hear a word,” Mr Womersley said.
The precinct would be a multi-use facility with a strong focus on driver safety courses. Parents Alex Trembath and Michelle Brooks have a 15-year-old son they’d prefer driving in a controlled environment before having to share the road. “It’s a worrying time when you’ve got a kid that's about to go for their licence,” Mr Trembath said. “You want them to be as well prepared for all the dangers that are out there.” The parents said they’ve been teaching their son how to drive on private roads. “There’s none of those other things he has to judge,” Ms Brooks said. “It’s all about learning.”
3 February 2016
THE DriveIt NQ motorsport precinct is at the centre of an election debate, with mayoral candidate Jayne Arlett calling for savings from another project to go towards the facility.
However, Mayor Jenny Hill said the $3 million in savings from the Dalrymple Rd upgrade was not the council’s to give away.
Formerly known as DECAMAG, DriveIt NQ would combine a motorsport precinct and driver training facility near Calcium, southwest of Townsville.
Ms Arlett said she hoped the savings could be used as seed funding to attract Federal and State government grants.
“We can commit the savings from one vital project and put them into another without borrowing more,” Ms Arlett said. “It’s important to note this is money we can give that has no burden on ratepayers, it’s already there … let’s put it to good use.”
Cr Hill said proponents for DriveIt NQ would need to speak with the Federal Government about using the leftover funds and took aim at her rival.
Picture: Townsville Bulletin
2 February 2016
Jayne Arlett released a statement outlining her intention to allocate $3 million to the Drive It NQ precinct.
"With up to $3 million in savings from the Dalrymple Rd project, we need to ensure those funds will stay in our community to fund projects like the Drive It NQ precinct," says Ms. Arlett. "We can commit the savings from one vital project and put them into another without borrowing more. Why give funds back to the south when we can use them here in Townsville to generate projects and jobs. It's one thing to sign a lease, it's another thing to come up with the best business plan to save our rate-payers money, generate employment and cut the red tape on a project that's been sitting on the shelf for over 10 years".
15 December 2015
TOWNSVILLE shopping centres are going to great lengths to combat Christmas car park chaos, employing traffic management staff, busing staff to work and offering valet parking services.... $2 from each customer would be donated to Drive It NQ – which is devoted to the establishment of a motor sport precinct and driver education centre.
Picture: Zak Simmonds
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