In an announcement made by the Bathurst Regional Council this evening, it was revealed that the federal government has withdrawn two grants amounting to a total of $12.5 million. The grants, valued at $10 million and $2.5 million respectively, were originally awarded to the council for the purpose of constructing a second circuit in Bathurst, adjacent to the renowned Mount Panorama circuit.
Unfortunately, these grants were contingent upon the completion of the new circuit and expenditure of the funds by 2026. Given the unfeasibility of meeting this deadline and the unsuccessful attempts to redirect the funding towards upgrades for the existing Mount Panorama circuit, the decision has been made to rescind the financial support, effectively halting the progress of the second circuit project.
Bathurst mayor Robert Taylor expressed his disappointment, stating, “Regrettably, we were informed that repurposing the funds did not align with the original grant’s intentions.” Mayor Taylor also emphasized the council’s ongoing commitment to the development of the second circuit and their dedication to collaborating with both the federal and state governments, as well as other stakeholders, to ensure its realization.
Previously, the council had raised a total of $27.5 million for the project, estimating a total cost of approximately $52 million. This funding consisted of the now-withdrawn $12.5 million federal grant, as well as $15 million from the state government, $5 million of which had already been allocated for the design and documentation required for the development application.
The council had secured a 200-hectare site behind McPhillamy and Reid Parks on Mount Panorama, where they had intended to construct a permanent circuit facility separate from the existing track. This new facility would have been operational throughout the year, in contrast to the current circuit, which primarily serves as an open tourist road and can only be closed for racing events on five occasions annually. These events include the Bathurst 12 Hour, Bathurst 6 Hour, Bathurst 1000, Challenge Bathurst, and the Bathurst International.
The plans for the second circuit encompassed a 4.5-kilometre layout that had received approvals from both the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) and FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Bathurst circuit funding
What was the reason behind the withdrawal of funding for the new Bathurst circuit?
The federal government decided to withdraw the funding due to the inability to meet the construction and expenditure deadline set for the new circuit by 2026. Efforts to redirect the funds into upgrades for the existing Mount Panorama circuit were also unsuccessful, resulting in the reversal of the grants.
Will the second circuit project be resumed in the future?
While the project is currently on hold, the Bathurst Regional Council remains committed to the development of the second circuit. They plan to continue working with both the federal and state governments, as well as other stakeholders, to explore opportunities for its realization in the future.
How much funding was raised for the project and how was it allocated?
The council raised a total of $27.5 million for the project. This included a now-withdrawn $12.5 million federal grant and $15 million from the state government. Of the state funding, $5 million had already been spent on the design and documentation required for the development application.
What were the plans for the second circuit?
The second circuit was intended to be built on a 200-hectare site behind McPhillamy and Reid Parks on Mount Panorama. It would have been a separate permanent circuit facility, offering year-round use unlike the existing track. The plans included a 4.5-kilometer layout approved by both the FIA and FIM, catering to various motorsport events.