Up until 2010, Canterbury Park was owned and managed by the Sydney Turf Club (STC). In 2010, the State government managed to negotiate a deal between the STC who owned Canterbury and Rosehill and the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) who managed Randwick and Warwick farm to merge into one club to consolidate assets, pool resources and eliminate inefficiencies in order for both to be more viable going forward. The new merged club was called the Australian Turf Club (ATC). In order to legislate the change and add in some protections the State government enacted the “Australian Jockey and Sydney Turf Clubs Merger Act 2010” and importantly for Canterbury Park, Clause 23 was struck to prevent a “fire-sale of land”. The concern among the old STC club members was that the newly formed club will simply try to sell Canterbury Park to earn some quick cash to prob up the balance sheet as a result of the debt brought to the newly formed club due to the poor financial situation of the AJC at the time of the merger. this was solved by imposing a 10 year moratorium, from the date of the Merger ACT (passed on 10 Nov 2010), on the sale/disposal of any major racing assets.
Below is Clause 23 verbatim, it is worth noting the word “necessary” as the condition for which sale of assets is only prohibited, this simply means that unnecessary land (also referred to as non-core in other Racing legislation) may still be disposed of even under the 10 year Moratorium period. This might explain the extend the ATC has gone to in order to show the parking Princess St parking area at Canterbury is arguably surplus or unnecessary to requirements!
Australian Jockey and Sydney Turf Clubs Merger Act 2010 No 93
Clause 23. Sale or disposal of racing infrastructure of racecourses prohibited
during 10-year moratorium period
(1) This section applies to any racecourse (other than Randwick Racecourse or Warwick Farm Racecourse) that becomes vested in the
merged racing club by virtue of the operation of this Division.
Note. Randwick Racecourse is owned by the Randwick Racecourse trustees and, immediately before the merger finalisation day, was leased to the AJC. The merged racing club will become its lessee by virtue of the operation of this Division.
(2) The merged racing club may not sell or otherwise dispose of any of the necessary racing infrastructure of a racecourse to which this section applies within the 10-year period commencing on the merger finalisation day.
(3) The necessary racing infrastructure of a racecourse is any lands, buildings or other facilities (such as racetracks, training grounds,
spectator or member stands and stabling areas) that are necessary for the conduct of race meetings at the racecourse.
(4) The regulations may make provision for or with respect to the kinds of lands, buildings or facilities (other than racetracks, training grounds, spectator or member stands or stabling areas) that are, or are not, to be treated for the purposes of this section as being necessary for the conduct of race meetings at a racecourse.
A Hansard transcript of the Merger notes to Parliament;
“Clause 23 of the bill provides for a ten-year moratorium on the sale of certain racecourse land that becomes vested in the merged club. The clause has been expressed in terms of other than Randwick Racecourse and Warwick Farm. This is because the former is Crown land and simply cannot be sold by the merged club and the latter is excluded in recognition of a pre-existing arrangement relating to the establishment of the Inglis complex at Warwick Farm. This is a safeguard that has been included at the explicit request of the AJC, the STC and Racing NSW to demonstrate that there is no intention to resort to a fire sale of land. “