The Shoalhaven area is ideally suited for the proposed Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex given its close proximity to major capital cities and the available tourist accommodation and facilities in local areas such as Nowra and Jervis Bay / St Georges Basin. The area’s economy stands to benefit significantly from the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex , with attraction of a large number of motorcycle sports and car clubs from around the state attending social and competitive regional, state and national championships and events, starting with the available off-road motorcycle sports disciplines, with longer term potential for other motorsports activities, as well as other sports (cycling, mountain biking, running) and community uses (riding/environmental education).
In the short-term the proposal would create various levels of economic benefits. Direct impacts would include various construction related employment and contracting in an area where the unemployment rate is of concern. It is anticipated that around up to 40 jobs would be created during the construction period, with two full time and seven casual jobs being created to operate the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex as well as the broader benefit of the positions created through auxiliary businesses catering for the increase in business owing to the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex.
In terms of other economic benefits, the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex would be an attractor of visitors to the area through:
- A number of higher profile regional, state and national level competitions given the increased availability of high level facilities – these competitors, support crews and family will often stay for an extended period before, during and after the competition itself;
- Becoming well known for the quality of facilities, resulting in increased casual visitation from outside the local area – with the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex particularly targeting multi-day visitors that may come to the area to use the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex as is common with other sporting pursuits, (golf, water skiing etc.)
- Reducing the incidence of illegal and uncontrolled riding through participants in the local and broader areas being attracted to a higher level Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex and facilities.
These types of activities will have flow-on effects to local tourism, hospitality and entertainment providers, as well as ensuring that the site is sustainable in its own activities and reducing the environmental and health costs to the community of illegal and unregulated riding including damage to natural areas and increased risk of injury.
Demand for existing regional and state level facilities, including Sydney Motorsport Park (Eastern Creek) and Wakefield Park (Goulburn), are understood to be at, or close to, saturation with high levels of latent demand expected to emerge once new facilities are made available. Anecdotal evidence from car clubs from within the Shoalhaven area suggests that car clubs are cancelling and sourcing alternative venues due to the lack of appropriate race facilities being available. The Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex would cater for this latent local demand, as well as providing for an alternative venue for Sydney and Canberra based clubs.
In this regard, it is noted that there are almost 600 classic/historic car clubs that are registered with Road and Maritime Services (formerly Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) and over 400 clubs registered with the Confederation of Australian Motorsport (CAMS). With the onset of baby boomer retirement and gathering interest in historic racing, road cars and motorcycles, these numbers are expected to continue to grow significantly over the next 10-15 years.
Regional sports tourism is big business and is keenly sought after by most regional destinations in Australia. In terms of the economic spin-off for the local economy, Tourism Research Australia values a sports tourist at $232 per person per day. And this is not only competitors, but accompanying family, parents, siblings and spectators all add to this expenditure. Given the current attractiveness and increasing trend for Australians to holiday overseas, and the correspondingly low level of incoming international tourism due to the high Australian dollar, the generation of substantial intra-state tourism to the Shoalhaven has the potential to be of enormous benefit to local tourism operators, accommodation outlets and associated service industries. The multiplier effect of this funding as it filters through the local economy will touch almost every business in the region.
Long term financial sustainability of the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex would be sought through a range of fees and charges associated with use of the site. Motorcycling NSW would also invest membership earnings in the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex as a truly state level facility for their members. Initial capital outlay would be sourced from a range of savings, loans and grant funding from government (not council), culminating in the delivery of a venue designed for this and future generations to enjoy.
In addition to the economic benefits that would flow through the community as discussed above, there are also a number of other benefits that the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex will bring to the area. Of particular note are the social benefits for the areas youth that will be most apparent. The existing off road site is already well utilised by a wide range of age groups, with a significant proportion of younger men and women who have chosen to legitimise their participation in the motorcycle sports disciplines through legal and safe riding at the Nowra and Districts Motorcycle Club. The operation of the upgraded Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex would seek to continue this trend, providing a safe, active sporting pursuit within the context of a professionally operated full-time venue.
Particular activities that would be actively pursued in support of the broader community benefit would include:
- Driver education and instruction for both cars and motorcycles, including school groups, private lessons, organised training days and emergency services training.
- Specialised programming for activities such as “Speed off the Streets”, youth demonstration events, holiday programming and dedicated Royal Australian Navy track days.
- Provision of allocated days for other sporting pursuits such as cycling and road running or cross-country running events.
- Allocation of days to local car and motorcycle sports clubs, to ensure accessibility for local clubs and their events.
Further benefits would be envisaged with dedicated resources to the care of the environment in and around the entire Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex, but particularly in the care of the off-road discipline tracks and facilities.This process would include regular maintenance and rehabilitation works, modification and redesign of tracks at the onset of any environmental impacts, and education of riders (particularly juniors and beginners) through activities such as “riding in your environment” courses to promote good environmental riding practices.
The unique and rare branding benefits for the Shoalhaven Region that the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex will bring will be significant. Parallels can be drawn to Eastern Creek, Philip Island and to Bathurst where it can be argued that the motorsport precincts in those areas result in a significant level of recognition from motorsport and ancillary activities. Motorcycling NSW’s vision includes televised events at the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex which in turn showcases the local area and its many attractions. As previously mentioned, Motorcycling NSW’s vision is that the community has a sense of ownership of the Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex. Usage will be encouraged across all age and interest groups through driver/rider education courses, corporate usage, school participation through various athletic events, scout camps, emergency services training etc.
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The Shoalhaven Motorsport Complex will bring a brighter future for the Shoalhaven