QLD netball given new $30m facility for 'future Firebirds'

QUEENSLAND'S 'future Firebirds' will have a new permanent $30 million facility to call home, Acting Premier Curtis Pitt said.

Mr Pitt said next month's state Budget will include funding for a brand new eight court indoor netball centre to be built at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC) at Nathan.

"Like countless other Queenslanders, I watched on in awe as our Queensland Firebirds won the Trans-Tasman Netball League against the Swifts in a nailbiter," Mr Pitt said.

"They're a champion team and we want to support the Firebirds and the next generation of netballers by creating a permanent, purpose-built headquarters for Queensland netball.

"We've been working with Netball Queensland since last year on a project that would act as a state of the art training facility for the Firebirds and have the capacity to host Queensland and Australia's biggest netball carnivals.

"This new facility will send out a very clear message that we want to encourage more young women to get involved in sport, while helping to take netball to the next level in Queensland."

Mr Pitt said Queensland were not only the national league champions, but also a powerhouse at grassroots level, with over 50,000 registered netballers in Queensland.

"It's about time Government came to the party and gave Netball Queensland the support it needs," he said.

"Even in tight budgetary conditions, we have found the funding we need to make this project a reality."

Minister for Sport and Racing Bill Byrne said while a detailed design process will soon be undertaken with Netball Queensland, it is expected the centre will feature eight indoor hard courts, player changing facilities and administration offices for Netball Queensland.

"We expect to see the facility being used by thousands of young netballers from clubs, schools and junior development programs, as well as seniors and representative players," Minister Byrne said.

"The project is expected to create around 100 jobs during construction and is another example of how this government is proactively engaging with the community to deliver the infrastructure that Queenslanders want."

Netball Queensland Chief Executive Catherine Clark has applauded the Premier's commitment of $30 million towards a dedicated netball facility in Queensland.

"This announcement represents a watershed commitment to women's sport.  Netball is the premier sport for women and girls in Queensland and the facility is a long time overdue," Ms Clark said.

"Queensland has fallen behind other States and Territories in providing a dedicated home for Netball.  As the largest female participation sport, we have a huge role to play in nurturing Queensland's sporting talent by providing pathways from grassroots through to our Mission Queensland Firebirds and onto Australian Diamonds honors."

"Netball has never had a purpose-built facility and this has certainly put us at a disadvantage when competing against other State teams and programs.  Today's announcement is a triumph for the State's 250,000 strong netball community."



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