Premier Anna Bligh, watched by Rockhampton candidate Bill Byrne and Joelene Callaghan, plays pass and catch with five-year-old Adrian Callaghan during a visit to the city. Ms Bligh says a new Labor administration will pay $500,000 to design a $140 million stadium for Rocky similar to Skilled Park on the Gold Coast.
Premier Anna Bligh, watched by Rockhampton candidate Bill Byrne and Joelene Callaghan, plays pass and catch with five-year-old Adrian Callaghan during a visit to the city. Ms Bligh says a new Labor administration will pay $500,000 to design a $140 million stadium for Rocky similar to Skilled Park on the Gold Coast. Chris Ison

Catch this Rocky!

ANNA Bligh threw Geoff Murphy a killer pass yesterday, one which he believes will help the CQ NRL Bid over the line.

Although she is a dedicated Titans fanatic, the Premier made her support for the CQ bid crystal clear by pledging $500,000 to ensure a $140 million, 21,000-seat stadium could be built near Rockhampton Showgrounds in time for the 2015 NRL premiership season.

If Labor wins the state election on March 24 it will fund a preliminary feasibility study by stadium-design experts Populous - the company behind Suncorp Stadium, Skilled Park and the Olympic Stadium in London.

Beaming as if he had just scored the winning try in a grand final, bid chairman Mr Murphy, said the commitment would show the NRL that Central Queensland would be ready to take its rightful place at rugby league's top table.

"If the NRL says yes to our bid, we will be shovel-ready to go," he said.

"I think we could get an indication by the middle of this year and I believe this announcement places us at the head of the queue.

"We will build an academy next to the stadium.

"We are the only bidding group that is being proactive in the community with grass roots programs and the Premier has been 100% behind us from the start.

"This is wonderful news."

Labor has already committed to funding the stadium, should the bid be successful.

Ms Bligh said Populous would prepare architectural studies, urban design work, civil engineering plans, a concept design and three dimensional animations of what the stadium would look like inside and out.

The study will also address parking and road access issues and look at possible ancillary uses for the stadium.

"It will become part of a marvellous sporting precinct that will be the envy of every city in Australia," she said.

The plan is to construct a stadium on state land opposite the CQ NRL Bid headquarters in Lion Creek Rd.

The site is currently used as a sports field by Rockhampton State High School.

Keen rugby league fan and member for Keppel, Paul Hoolihan, praised Mr Murphy's drive and persistence and said locals would be comforted by the commitment.

"The NRL will know how serious we are."

 

STADIUM FACTS

  • New pledge of $500,000 to make stadium project shovel-ready.
  • Plans to be drawn by the company building London's Olympic Stadium.
  • Location is Rockhampton State High School sports fields.
  • 21,000-seat stadium estimated to cost $140 million.
  • Bid team expects NRL to announce new franchises this year.



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