In this file photo from 2018 Supercars Championship drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup are seen here with former Ipswich Acting Mayor Paul Tully.
In this file photo from 2018 Supercars Championship drivers Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup are seen here with former Ipswich Acting Mayor Paul Tully. David Nielsen

Getting Supercars back like 'pushing s--t up a hill'

DISMISSED councillor Paul Tully has lamented a lack of action from the council as the catalyst for Ipswich losing its annual Supercars event.

Supercars CEO Sean Seamer said the new five-year deal and shortened racing calendar would create an "improved offering for the fans" but it was not an easy decision to pull out of Ipswich, which has hosted a race every year since 1999.

Mr Tully, who was part of the council that promised $52million over 10 years up to 2028 to keep the Supercars in Ipswich, yesterday claimed the lack of council funding and care for the community were the reasons the Supercars pulled out of Queensland Raceway.

"This is a major loss to Ipswich. It wouldn't have happened if we had elected councillors still," Mr Tully said.

"This was one of the key tourism drawcards for southeast Queensland each year and this is a major disappointment."

"The administrator should not have allowed this to slip through our hands. The city will be pushing s--t up a hill to ever get the Supercars back."

In 2017, the council drew up a deal for $52million in upgrades to the Queensland Raceway. At the time Mr Tully confirmed the "multi-million dollar sponsorship deal" was with the State Government and Supercars in two separate agreements.

Interim administrator Greg Chemello said the council's offer to the Supercars was the largest it had put up for any event.

"(Supercars) were not after any more contribution from us," he said.

"They have issues with the calendar being too crowded, pressure by the drivers and the finances of running Supercars teams."

Mr Chemello said the former council was putting up the cash to "take control" of the racetrack, regardless of the leases and licenses with businesses already on the track and added that Ipswich was not alone in being ditched.

"(Supercars) kicked two venues out this year and there's possibly another one in the next year or two," he said.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones announced the new deal with Supercars yesterday, which continues on with the Gold Coast 600 and the Townsville 400.

"Both races pump tens of millions of dollars into the economy," she said.

"We've committed to working with Supercars to grow these events in the future to attract more tourists who stay longer in Queensland."

Ms Jones did not comment on what could have been done to keep the Supercars in Ipswich.



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