MELBOURNE could soon have a new 50-hectare racetrack and driver education and training facility south-east of the city to help cut the state's road toll.
Work is expected to begin soon on the $30 million Cardinia Motor Recreation and Education Park, with the facility to open in January 2016. The complex is expected to be similar to the Sydney Motor Sport Park at Eastern Creek.
Melbourne's new motor park will be 60 kilometres from the city on McGregor Road, Pakenham, and will be used by car, motorcycle and go-kart clubs, and as a driver education centre. It is a joint venture between Cardinia Shire Council and Drew Price Engineering. The council, police and the Transport Accident Commission hope the new facility will help reduce hoon driving and the deaths of young motorists.
The motor park has been eight years in the planning and is expected to include a main circuit of about three kilometres for cars and motorcycles. It also is expected to include multiple go-kart circuits, a skid pan, motocross and quad-bike circuit, and a motorkhana, autocross and buggy circuit.
Cardinia Mayor Brett Owen, who is also a youth services officer with Victoria Police, said the new facility would help address driver safety. ''There is a strong focus on education, particularly around young people, in our area. Cardinia, Casey have got a high road toll in relation to young people and previous years have been really bad for us,'' he said. ''This is an opportunity, working with council and local police, to really educate young people about driver safety and run programs to try and reduce the road toll in our area.''
He said facilities were limited in the south-east of Melbourne and it would be a ''quality, educational, road-safety park''. ''A lot of young people use motorbikes illegally - these monkey bikes or dirt bikes. This an opportunity for young people to be part of a club and place to do it safely.''
The Pakenham Auto Club and Koo Wee Rup Motorcycle Club are expected to use the new facility.
Pakenham Auto Club president Leon Prosser said there was a big demand for the facility and it would play an important role in driver training and road safety.
''We have got kids starting as young as 12. We can put them into a car and they have got to have an experienced passenger with them … we go right through from teaching them the basics of the car and give them a chance to develop some skills and bit of sense and bit of understanding to what the car does,'' he said. ''They get a really good understanding of what a car can do and just how dangerous it can be.''
Project co-ordinator Bill O'Gorman said the facility would be used for activities similar to the Sydney Motor Sport Park: ''Driver training, driver education and product launches. It is going to be youth-based, community-based and be teaching kids at a young age how to drive so we don't have P-plate drivers killing themselves.''