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Letter on Draft Inner North and City District Strategy from Chair, Les Boag

The Canberra Racing Club (CRC) welcomes today’s clarification by the Chief Minister and the ACT Government regarding the Draft Inner North and City District Strategy.

Option A, based on the CRC’s master plan envisioning a vibrant future for Thoroughbred Park and outlined in the Draft Inner North and City District Strategy, represents a great step forward for the CRC.

Option A in the Planning Strategy is positively aligned with the direction that we would like to see our masterplan go and we will be pursuing that outcome.

Our masterplan for Thoroughbred Park is about investment and renewal here in Lyneham for the long term – benefitting both CRC and the community.

As a not-for-profit enterprise, the net proceeds from the CRC’s masterplan developments will be reinvested in modern sustainable facilities, improving the racing industry, horse welfare and enhancing our services to the community.

Let me be unequivocal about this – our charter is not to become property developers at the expense of the racing industry, our Members and our community.

Option B, to develop all of the racecourse land, was a total surprise to us with no consultation and delivered on Melbourne Cup Day when we were hosting a significant race day for Canberra

There were a lot of employees of the Club and racing industry participants who had a sleepless night worrying about what Option B meant for them, their careers, their businesses and their families.

It is important that the ACT Government continue to strongly express support of the future of Racing at Thoroughbred Park, as many Canberrans worry that where there is smoke there is fire.

Thus, they cannot help but suspect there is a hidden long term Government plan to force the sale of the racecourse that has just inadvertently been exposed.

We would ask all Members, Trainers, Owners and racing enthusiasts to write in support of our Master Plan in the Draft Inner North and City District Strategy. We will provide detail on how to do so in the coming weeks.

The statement issued by an ACT Government Spokesperson reads as follows:

The ACT Government has been working with Canberra Racing Club since February 2020 on a range of options for the future of its Thoroughbred Park site in Lyneham.

Canberra Racing Club had proposed a range of possibilities for the future of the site as a means of diversifying the club’s income, including the construction of housing on part of the site. The ACT Government supports investigation of these options.

The draft Inner North District Strategy released yesterday contains a range of ideas for the community to consider, including possible changes to Canberra Racing Club’s Thoroughbred Park site in Lyneham.

It is not a plan to end horse racing.

The ACT Government signed a 5-year MOU with the Canberra Racing Club earlier this year. The racetrack will remain at the current site in Lyneham for as long as Canberra Thoroughbred Club wish to stay there.   




Les Boag


Canberra Racing Club