$15 million Federal Election commitment to help Ballymore transform to world class sports precinct

by Rugby Australia
The Queensland Rugby Union’s (QRU) iconic Ballymore Park will be transformed into a world class sports precinct and community facility, which will include a national headquarters for women’s Rugby, following a $15 million election commitment from the Australian Labor Party.

Shadow Minister for Sport, Senator the Hon Don Farrell and Federal Labor candidate for the seat of Brisbane, Dr Paul Newbury, today announced Labor would commit $15 million towards the proposed National Rugby Training Centre (NRTC).

The stunning $35 million high-performance centre will replace the ageing McLean Stand and become the centrepiece of a redevelopment of the precinct as a recreation hub for the city, opening what is currently a closed stadium to the public with new parks, bicycle and walking paths.

The NRTC will enable Rugby Australia to base its national women’s XV-a-side program in Queensland, helping to inspire a new generation of female sporting talent with a world-class training facility, along with providing a home for the Qantas Wallabies in Queensland. The NTRC will also house the St.George Queensland Reds and the QRU’s academy program as well as other programs including referee, club rugby administration and representative programs.

The development will breathe life into an ageing facility which, since the Reds moved games to Suncorp Stadium in 2006, has burdened QRU significantly with escalating maintenance costs.

The redevelopment includes an integrated 3,000-seat stand replacing the McLean Stand’s capacity, allowing for games such as Queensland Premier Rugby club finals as well as Buildcorp Wallaroos Tests and other matches. The facility will also cater for sporting events to approximately 12,000.

The QRU has had advanced discussions with the Palaszczuk State Labor Government on a matching $15 million commitment, with a further $5 million to be contributed towards the project from within Australian Rugby.

QRU Chief Executive Officer David Hanham welcomed the ALP and Dr Newbury’s commitment.

“This is the culmination of many years of hard work by QRU and Rugby Australia to deliver a world-class sports and community precinct that meets the needs of rugby and the community we share Ballymore with,” he said.

“To provide a high-performance centre to support our elite women’s and men’s programs will ensure Queensland remains at the forefront of athlete and coach development. It also ensures that our many state-wide club and school users receive the benefit of an upgraded Ballymore.

“Paul Newbury has been an enthusiastic supporter of our vision for the code and the importance of Ballymore to this from the moment we spoke about it last year and he has fought hard to help bring it to fruition.

“This is a terrific investment, not just for rugby in Australia and Queensland, but for the Brisbane community - who will have a new community hub.

“We want to have a Ballymore that invites our neighbours in, not one that locks them out.

“We have also had discussions with Brisbane City Council about creating new links across Enoggera Creek with the Newmarket sporting fields to create a world-class community sporting complex of more than 25 hectares less than 5km from Brisbane’s CBD.”

Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle said Ballymore was the number one infrastructure priority for the game in Australia.

“It is critical to the development of the game both in Queensland and nationally,” said Castle.

“While we already have key staff based in Brisbane, having a world class centre for our women’s XVs programs at Ballymore will allow them to continue to grow – Queensland now has more than 16,000 women and girls playing the game and those numbers are rising rapidly.

“The NRTC will also become an option for Wallabies training camps and a base for national development programs.”

The National Rugby Training Centre

The NRTC concept has been designed by Nicholas George of TVS Architects. TVS also designed Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Albion, Brisbane.

It will feature an integrated 3,000-seat stand replacing the existing McLean Stand.

Spread over 6,500 square metres, it will feature changerooms for up to 80 men and women and cutting-edge sports science and recovery facilities.

The facility will also be able to be used as a community meeting space.