House debates

Tuesday, 7 February 2023

Constituency Statements

Southern Ocean Surf Reef, Albany Motorsport Park

4:04 pm

Photo of Rick WilsonRick Wilson (O'Connor, Liberal Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Trade) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise today to applaud the hard work of the sporting groups behind two major infrastructure projects set to benefit the people of the far south coast in my electorate of O'Connor. Albany Boardriders and the Great Southern Motorplex Group have spent two decades developing the Southern Ocean Surf Reef and Albany Motorsport Park projects.

The surf reef will deliver a more consistent wave at Albany's Middleton Beach. Boardriders, including Peter Bolt, Dave Beeck and Tony Harrison, have spent years building a watertight business case for this project. It has been great to work with the boardriders, the City of Albany and, particularly, Councillor Greg Stocks, who has played an integral role. While Albany's 145-kilometre-long municipality has wonderful surf beaches, there is no consistent surf break close to town. This hinders the growth of surfing and tourism on Western Australia's scenic south coast. Hence, before the 2022 federal election, I announced a $5 million commitment to the surf reef. Thankfully, two weeks later, the Labor candidate matched that commitment. Today, eight months after the election, the money is yet to come through. I know that the Albany boardriders are champing at the bit to build their reef, and I'm sure they will get cracking the minute the Commonwealth opens its coffers.

Turning to the Albany Motorsport Park, I'm thrilled that construction work of this much-needed facility commenced last week. Spearheading the project is a group of motorsport enthusiasts, including Theo Newhouse, Mark O'Keefe, Matt Pearce, John Brade, Jack Fuller and Robbie Sutton—that would be Councillor Robbie Sutton. Albany has had a long connection with motorsports, with the town reportedly the first to bring European motor racing to Australia. The distinctive 'around the houses' event dates back to 1936. As a kid in the 1970s, I fondly remember embracing the idea of a homegrown event similar to the Monaco Grand Prix. This race is still held annually on the hilly streets of Western Australia's oldest neighbourhoods, set against the backdrop of the majestic Princess Royal Harbour. Work has now started on a state-of-the-art motorplex on the outskirts of Albany. The 2.4 kilometre motocross circuit will be built as a priority, seeing as Albany's motocross community has not had a home for many years. This initial stage will also include a four-wheel-drive training area. Down the track, the project's crowning glory—a 3.25-kilometre sealed race circuit—is envisaged.

This project is benefiting from $4.95 million from the Building Better Regions Fund, which was axed by federal Labor. I can only hope that whatever funding alternative Labor comes up with is equitable and supports quality infrastructure projects for regional Australians. I close by congratulating everyone involved with the Southern Ocean Surf Reef and the Albany Motorsport Park projects for their vision, hard work and persistence. My family and I look forward to enjoying these world-class facilities, along with many other families from throughout the Great Southern.