Campbell Newman
Campbell Newman

Rocky to get footy stadium: Newman

QUEENSLAND Opposition leader Campbell Newman “Can Do” an NRL stadium for Central Queensland.

Brimming with confidence yesterday, CQ NRL Bid chairman Geoff Murphy revealed he'd secured a verbal commitment from the LNP boss whom he sat next to at a function in Brisbane on Thursday night.

Mr Murphy made his first pitch to Mr Newman at Rockhampton Airport last Sunday and provided him with information about the bid.

Mr Murphy said Mr Newman told him at the function: “I've read your information and I'm extremely, extremely impressed.”

The bid chairman added: “Campbell said he wasn't in the game of breaking promises and anything in place by the current government stands.

“He looked me in the eye and said ‘you get on with it and do what you have to do'.

“I'm absolutely thrilled.”

This week The Morning Bulletin reported Mr Newman's early position was not to promise government funding towards a stadium based in Rockhampton until he had been presented with all the relevant information.

His support now puts the CQ bid in a stronger position as it was never able to get a firm commitment from former LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek.

Last year Premier Anna Bligh offered a written commitment to building a stadium should the NRL grant the region a licence, saying she was delighted at QR National's agreement to be a principal sponsor – a deal that is understood to be worth seven figures.

If a stadium was built in Rockhampton a CQ NRL side would have to pay a substantial amount of money to use the facility and it wouldn't be a free ride.

It would be the anchor tenant, but the stadium would be used by other sporting and entertainment groups.

Business arrangements operate at Queensland stadiums, including Skilled Park, Suncorp and Dairy Farmers, which all generate income for the government.

This week councillors were briefed on a detailed report by independent analysts AEC Group which concludes that in the first five years, a premiership rugby league team based in Rockhampton would generate $745 million for the Fitzroy regional economy and be the catalyst for more than 3000 full-time jobs.

The NRL could make a decision on expansion as early as June.

Mr Newman was not able to be reached for comment yesterday.

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