Coalition matches Labor's promise on Ballymore redevelopment
BALLYMORE'S second coming is all but assured after the Federal Government matched Labor's $15 million election promise to turn the rundown facility into a national rugby training centre.
The $35 million proposal would transform the former Brisbane Test venue into a women's 15-a-side national headquarters and Queensland Reds training base capable of hosting Wallaroos Tests, club rugby and professional fixtures from other codes.
The centre, boasting a 12,000-fan capacity, would also serve as a hub for Asian and Pacific Island rugby, and is in the frame to host events should Brisbane secure the 2032 Olympic Games.
Both stands would be demolished in the plan, replaced by a 3000-seat pavilion and administration, community and performance-related spaces, with a hill stretching around three sides of the main ground.
Rugby Australia will contribute $5 million to the project, and the Queensland Rugby Union is in positive talks with the State Government to match the $15 million pledge of both major parties.
It is welcome news for the code after John Howard's $25 million plan was scrapped by the incoming federal Labor government in 2007.
"Rugby Australia is extremely grateful for the support of the Australian Government for a world-class facility, which has paved the way for the government to bring to life the original vision of the former Liberal prime minister John Howard for Ballymore," Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said.
"Securing bipartisan government support for the development of the NRTC is a crucial step forward in Rugby Australia and the QRU's plans for Ballymore and we will continue to work with the Queensland Government to unlock a matching commitment."