Experienced motorsport administrator Damien White will spearhead the planned major redevelopment of Queensland Raceway.
White has been appointed general manager of the project by the Ipswich City Council, which in April revealed a wide-ranging vision to reinvent the multi-purpose venue.
Formerly a key figure at Supercars, White moved to Adelaide earlier this year to lead the commercial operations at Sam Shahin’s new South Australia Motorsport Park in Tailem Bend.
White resigned from the position earlier this month, shifting back to Queensland’s Gold Coast with his wife and nine month old daughter.
“The operators and I went in knowing it was going to be a challenge relocating my young family,” White explained to Speedcafe.com of his departure from Tailem Bend.
“Having a new family and a new city proved too much and we needed to move back to the Gold Coast, where we have a large support network.”
Since returning to Queensland, White was approached by the Ipswich City Council and will start work on its project on Monday.
Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale told Speedcafe.com that the former racer is a natural fit for the council’s plans to turn Ipswich into a motorsport mecca.
The grand plan features investment in its circuit racing, karting and drag racing layouts, as well as the establishment of new infrastructure including a speedway, off-road facilities and a three-star hotel.
“We needed to have someone who knows what he’s doing and Damien comes very well credentialed,” said Cr Pisasale.
“Having Damien onboard and setting up the whole facility there is going to be fantastic.”
Pisasale admitted that the project is still in its planning phase, with state government funding for the first stage of development yet to be signed off.
Briefed on the masterplan, White says he’s looking forward to being part of a project that promises great benefits for both motorsport and the Ipswich region.
“I’m excited by Ipswich City Council’s enthusiasm, belief and awareness of what needed to change at the precinct for it to be all that they want it to be,” he said.
“Obviously I have recent exposure to the Supercars network, but this is far more than that.
“Since leaving Supercars I have undertaken work with other government bodies with drag racing and with the recent experiences in Adelaide I have a deep understanding of all of the homologating bodies from karting to the FIA and FIM.
“When they (Ipswich City Council) first showed me the master plan it absolutely blew my mind.
“This is going to be far more than throwing in a new pit building and adding in a metre or two to the width of the circuit.
“Ipswich will benefit through the greater participation and attendance across all aspects of the venue as a result of what this masterplan will deliver.”
Work on the plan coincides with continued negotiations over the future of Ipswich’s Supercars event, which was not part of yesterday’s deal with the Queensland Government to continue the Townsville and Gold Coast street races.
Original article published at www.speedcafe.com by Stefan Bartholomaeus 01/7/16
BUDGET: Cash splashed to fix Ipswich’s congested highway
ONE of Ipswich’s worst intersections will be fixed with the Federal Government committing to fund an upgrade to the Cunningham Highway.
In his third budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed $170 million would go towards improving the dreaded Amberley Interchange.
The project will include a realignment of the highway between Yamanto and Ebenezer Creek and an upgrade of the Ipswich-Rosewood Rd.
Expansions and growing military activity at RAAF Base Amberley has put pressure on the interchange.
The $170 million funding injection also comes as the Ipswich City Council considers a proposal from Lantrak to move 1 million tonnes of landfill each year to rehabilitate the New Hope coal mine at Jeebropilly.
According to the application more than 250 heavy vehicles would transit the highway each day.
The government says the Cunningham Highway upgrade will “improve travel reliability and reduce congestion”.
It is expected the Queensland Labor Government will match the funding to start the $340 million project.
Federal Labor MP Shayne Neumann confirmed his party would offer bipartisan support and also commit to fixing the highway in a “major boost for the economic capacity of the Ipswich region”.
“The road takes 2700 heavy vehicle movements a day, and plays a significant role in transporting people and freight between Brisbane and Sydney,” he said.
“These vital upgrades to the Cunningham Highway have long been identified on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List.
“That’s why it’s disappointing the Turnbull LNP Government have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to fund this project.”
Become an entrepreneur
OLDER residents in Ipswich will be encouraged to become entrepreneurs so they can stay in the workforce longer.
The Federal Government will roll out 20 new entrepreneurship facilitators across the regions over the next four years.
Ipswich, along with central Queensland, Ballina and Tweed, will benefit from the program.
The small business experts will teach mature-age people how to start and maintain sustainable businesses.
The Federal Government has set aside $2.7 million in the 2018-19 financial year for the project.
A further $15 million will fund the program until June of 2022.
The government has also committed to continuing the Job Change project that assists mature-age workers to remain in the workforce as retirement and pension ages creep upwards.
Amberley cashes in on Defence spending
RAAF Base Amberley will take a share in millions of dollars in upgrades in the Defence portfolio.
A new Air Traffic Control Radar will be installed at Amberley as part of an estimated $96 million investment in new technology across several bases.
Working accommodation, maintenance, warehousing and training facilities will be built to support the introduction of the Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability aircraft.
The project is scheduled for completion by early 2021.
A C-17 maintenance facility, aircraft apron and associated infrastructure will also be constructed.
It is scheduled for completion by early 2019.
Australia’s largest solar farm planned near Ipswich
Somerset already hosts a number of energy projects including hydroelectric plants at Wivenhoe Dam and Splityard Creek Dam.Contributed
AUSTRALIA’S largest solar farm has been proposed for a rural site near Ipswich.
The proposed plant, east of Harlin along the D’Aguilar Highway, would have final capacity of 1,500 megawatts, six times larger than its closest rival.
Plans include two substations and the capacity to hire to 60 people.
The Sunraysia solar farm in NSW is Australia’s largest under construction, at 250 megawatts.
Other Australian solar farms of up to 1,000 megawatts have been proposed.
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said it was a complex development application from Ethos Urban planning consultants.
The company has been involved in other large infrastructure projects throughout Australia, on behalf of Sunshine Energy Australia Pty Ltd.
“We understand the attractions of the site include its proximity to the existing high voltage power network and proximity to Brisbane,” Cr Lehmann said.
“The site has been largely cleared in the past and is within one hour of the 570 MW pumped storage hydroelectric plant at Splityard Creek which is also in the Somerset Regional Council area.
“The development application includes two substations, facilities for up to 60 employees and provision for battery storage.”
“The application has been referred to various government departments and agencies for their input and we will carefully assess it against our planning scheme like any other proposal.”
Somerset Regional Council is reviewing the application.
Education City link approved by Ipswich Council
A FOOTPATH that will link Springfield’s Education City to the Robelle Domain Parklands in Springfield Central has been approved by Ipswich City Council.
Plans were lodged by Springfield Land Corporation on February 2 this year and first approved on February 26.
However Ipswich City Council did not approve the use of Hoop Pines to landscape the pathway.
After some negotiating a new decision notice was issued on April 9 with the condition stipulating that Hoop Pines were not to be used deleted.
The land where the pathway is being constructed is lot 810 Sinnathamby Boulevard, Springfield Central.
Described as an open space boulevard pathway, the public concrete path and associated landscaping work has been approved in full subject to conditions.
Footpath lighting is to be installed, and a spotter catcher is to be engaged to supervise vegetation removal and ensure any native fauna including native bees are identified and relocated.
The spotter catcher is to submit a report before and after vegetation clearing works are undertaken detailing what wildlife has been identified and preventative and remedial actions taken to ensure animal safety.