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Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne says NRL must pledge team first

DESPITE being a staunch supporter of the CQ NRL bid, Rockhampton MP Bill Byrne won't throw his whole support behind a push for a new stadium and conference centre.

Capricorn Enterprise has launched a high-profile campaign to convince the State Government to help fund a $150 million complex from money made from asset sales.

Not only does Mr Byrne oppose asset sell-offs, but he is also concerned about the financial sustainability of a stadium without an NRL team.

He believes it should not be built unless the NRL supports a Central Queensland team.

"I support what (Capricorn Enterprise) is trying to achieve," Mr Byrne said.

"I am 100% on board 'siamese- twinned' to an NRL bid. But the divorcing ... lacks merit. For me it's all based around the NRL."

He is concerned without an NRL team using the stadium, it could simply become an economic liability.

Mr Byrne said the bottom line was that the complex had to be financially sustainable.

"A stadium is not a matter of, 'build it and they'll come'," he said.

"And that's the discussion needed going forward."

Capricorn Enterprise chief executive Mary Carroll believes with 40,500 CQ NRL bid supporters, the support for a stadium and convention centre is already there.

She said the region was missing out on many investments, such as musical acts and sporting events, without a complex.

"The critical point is Rockhampton is the only regional centre without this kind of infrastructure," Ms Carroll said.  

"This is about asking the government to fund critical public assets that will then generate millions into the local and regional community."  

Mr Byrne said the proposal to put $8.6 billion from sell-offs aside for investments, instead of using it to pay off debt, showed the Newman government had hyped up a debt crisis.  

He said they were using the Strong Choices investment program, which is the scheme Capricorn Enterprise will apply to for funding, to sweeten up voters for sell-offs.  

The program will go ahead if the Newman government is re-elected next year.  

Topics:  bill byrne, cq nrl bid, nrl, stadium and convention centre




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