By Jess Baker
Warwick Dragway has received government funding of nearly $2 million, which will see major upgrades take place at the facility in 2021.
The project, announced by Maranoa MP David Littleproud on Friday, is part of a joint investment of $36.8 million in locally-led bushfire recovery projects.
Minister Littleproud said the existing 1/8 mile drag strip at Morgan Park will be upgraded to the national standard 1/4 mile facility in the New Year to allow for larger and more regular race meets.
“This is an investment in the Southern Downs community and an acknowledgement of what the community has gone through,” Minister Littleproud said.
“It’s about bringing the community together – in a way that’s probably very different to other bushfire-affected areas – and about providing an economic boost to the community.”
“If you’re bringing 5000 spectators to Warwick on a weekend, you’re bringing money to town that will spill over to the shops, the motels, and surrounding small towns.”
Warwick Dragway president Chris Loy said the funding announcement was “the best Christmas present ever” after a tough year of cancelled events.
“Prior to Covid-19, we were attracting a large number of visitors to the town about 12 times a year,” said Chris.
“This extra funding means we’ll be able to have meetings with top fuel cars, build a burnout skid pan, and attract even bigger crowds and more visitors to the area.”
Chris said the club had spent 10 years “working intensively” to acquire funding for the upgrades, so it is great to see plans start to take shape.
“I’ve been the president of the club for 23 years and it’s been a long hard slog to get to this point,” said Chris.
“It’s really great that all of us who have stayed with the facility over the years will see the upgrades we’ve been pushing for.”
Work on the project is set to commence in January 2021 and will take about six months to complete.
“We’re not going to rush it,” said Chris.
“We’re very hard in our ways and we want to keep as much of the money as possible in Warwick.”
“On behalf of management, I’d really like to thank all the volunteers who have helped the facility both past and present, the Mayor Vic Pennisi for his drive, the staff at Southern Downs Regional Council who prepared the grant, and David Littleproud and staff.”