Wakefield Park turbo-charges Goulburn economy: Report

PUMPED: Goulburn's Tom Toparis and his family in Wakefield Park's pit lane last March. The Braidwood Road facility is estimated to pump $15m into Goulburn economy annually. Photo: Darryl Fernance.

PUMPED: Goulburn's Tom Toparis and his family in Wakefield Park's pit lane last March. The Braidwood Road facility is estimated to pump $15m into Goulburn economy annually. Photo: Darryl Fernance.

A raft of improvements worth more than $3.5 million are planned for Goulburn’s motor-racing circuit, Wakefield Park.

It’s just one of the reasons the operators commissioned an economic impact study for the facility.

The document, prepared by planning and economics firm Urban Enterprise, showed that the track contributed $15 million to the Goulburn economy annually.

Wakefield Park operations manager Matt Baragwanath said this figure was based on surveys of spectators and entrants and spread across the number of annual events, typically 14 to 15 race days plus corporate and other fixtures.

Urban Enterprise found that the facility attracted 15,000 event entrants and 17,000 spectators annually, most of whom came from outside the region. The former spent an average $200 in the Goulburn region and the latter, $337 on each visit. Racing teams forked out and average $405 on accommodation and $241 on meals in Goulburn each time, the study revealed.

“The study authors surveyed people at two to three major events and obtained information on where they stayed, where they ate and fueled up etc and how much they spent,” Mr Baragwanath said.

Statewide, the facility was calculated to generate $20 million into the economy. The popular track also employs 71 people, many of them from Goulburn.

Mr Baragwanath said the study was commissioned for several reasons.

“It’s pointless having discussions with local and state governments about funding if you don’t have a measurable (value to economy),” he said.

“...There’s also a lot of scuttlebutt on what Wakefield Park does and doesn’t bring to the town, so without firm figures, it’s all pie in the sky. Plenty of people in Goulburn think we do nothing for the economy.”

In addition, it would help plan future events but more importantly, owners were planning an upgrade. This includes track resurfacing, estimated to cost $2 million to $2.5m, improvements to pit lanes and the corporate centre and a skid pan for driver education, all over the next 18 months.

Mr Baragwanath said he’d dearly love to expand further but operators needed to know there was support from neighbours and the council. He argued the whole city would benefit.

He told The Post an average 100 to 200 people attended race meetings. Historic race meetings were particularly popular and corporate days were also growing.

This weekend the track hosts the CAMS NSW production cars State Championships. Another two historic car meetings will be held in November, another round of the CAMS state series in November and the Australian Historic Road Racing Nationals from November 9 to 12.

Meantime, a council commission employment land strategy recognised the importance of motor sport in the region. It recommended more zoning of land on which the sports was located and possibly in the north Goulburn area.

“This sport is growing in popularity and the council should continue to give it support as it has the potential to provide increased economic benefit to the LGA,” the report stated.