INVESTING in sporting infrastructure is vital Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie said during her visit to the Bathurst 1000 on Sunday.
This year’s Great Race attracted a near-record crowd and Ms McKenzie was not the only dignitary, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Deputy NSW Premier John Barilaro and other MPs also at the track.
“This facility sees nearly 200,000 visitors every single year and that is a significant economic boost to a community like Bathurst,” Ms McKenzie said.
“People rent out their homes, the restaurants are full, the caravan park is full – it’s just a phenomenal economic boost.
“It shows the importance of investing in sporting infrastructure.”
Ms McKenzie said that many people might have grown up watching the Bathurst 1000 on television, but being at the track was a very different experience.
“To be here in person and to just see the passion of the supporters and just the magnitude of support that’s out there has just been phenomenal, it’s a huge boost,” she said.
The minister was invited to the track by Calare MP Andrew Gee who also took the opportunity of showing off the plans for the planned second racing circuit at Mount Panorama.
“I’ve seen the plans and it’s incredibly exciting because it’ll be a permanent track, as you know this is also a local road when we don’t take it over as it has been this past week,” Ms McKenzie said.
“To have a permanent track I think will be fantastic, you’ll be able to attract a whole new industry to build around that and to build on the expertise and the heritage of the Mount Panorama story and Bathurst.”
People rent out their homes, the restaurants are full, the caravan park is full – it’s just a phenomenal economic boost.Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie
Calare MP Andrew Gee said Bathurst was one of the very lucky locations in his electorate to have such a significant facility.
“One of the reasons I was so keen to get the Prime Minister and the Minister for Sport here is so they could experience it for themselves because until you’ve been here and actually seen it and felt the vibe you don’t really understand,” he said.
“The scale of it is absolutely extraordinary so what we’re trying to do is build this second world-class circuit and so we’ve just got to get the key decision makers in so they can see for themselves how important this is.”
Check out the faces and fans of the Bathurst 1000
MOUNT Panorama holds a special place in many race fans’ hearts and each year thousands of them make the pilgrimage to Bathurst to take in the action of the Great Race.
Many have spent decades coming to the iconic circuit for race week, while for others it is the first time they have experienced the thrill of the Bathurst 1000.
This year, more than 6000 campsites were booked around the Mount, with a staggering 33,000 people to be sleeping in tents, swags, caravans and campers of all shapes and sizes.