Today’s announcement of a $15 million Federal Government grant to help fund the North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ new HQ has been warmly welcomed by the club.
The grant is a crucial step towards the club securing the $50 million target to build its state-of-the-art Community, Training and High Performance Centre, a natural extension to the club’s new home at North Queensland Stadium.
The Cowboys are seeking funding support from the major parties as part of Townsville Enterprise’s federal election priorities submission, with the balance to be raised through club resources, as well as corporate, community and philanthropic sources.
Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini was delighted to receive the funding news ahead of the club’s 11th remaining regular season home game at 1300SMILES Stadium.
“This grant is a significant step forward in our plans to secure our great club’s future, and we thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Senator Matt Canavan and LNP Candidate for Herbert Phillip Thompson for their commitment and vision for North Queensland,” Mr Lancini said.
“We applaud this investment as a huge boost for the revitalisation of our city centre and region – this will be a multi-purpose community facility and its development will be a confidence-booster for our recovering economy.
“The government’s contribution to this project reflects their priority on the sustainability and growth of national sporting clubs, like the Cowboys and recently the Brisbane Lions and the Manly Sea Eagles, through improved infrastructure in the form of community-focused sporting centres.
“We can now continue our campaign to lock in the remaining $35 million in funding to make this essential facility a reality.”
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the funding injection would promote Townsville as a new destination for touring sporting teams as well as give back to the community.
“The North Queensland Cowboys are more than just a sporting icon up north – they are part of the beating heart of the Townsville community, as was demonstrated by their service during the recent floods,” Mr Morrison said.
“This new high-performance sports centre we’re backing will deliver cutting-edge facilities and access to world-class sports science, medical and allied health services.
“The centre will also relocate and expand the Cowboys’ headquarters, meaning the community-owned club can build on the work done by the Cowboys Community Foundation in making real change in employment, health and social outcomes for young North Queenslanders.
“I know our support for this project will give the people of Townsville a real boost after the difficult times they have been going through.”
The announcement comes on the back of the Federal Government’s commitment to $100 million of funding for the new North Queensland Stadium.
Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan said the new facility would benefit the entire Townsville community.
“The Federal Government in conjunction with the Queensland State Government are already building a world class football stadium in Townsville, and this investment will mean Townsville has world class facilities for multiple sports as well,” Senator Canavan said.
“No longer will elite sporting teams or researchers have to travel to a capital city to train or get the best in sports science."
LNP Candidate for Herbert Phillip Thompson OAM said the new centre will be an asset for the whole community.
“As well as being the new Cowboys HQ, the centre will provide cutting-edge facilities and access to world-class sports science, medical and allied health services,” Mr Thompson said.
“This funding boost also means that the Cowboys are able to expand on their record of 20 years of community leadership and sporting achievement."
The new Community, Training and High Performance Centre will combine community areas, multi-sport high-performance training spaces, sports medicine and sports science laboratories, together with the stadium and administration offices, located in between Ross Creek and Saunders Street in Townsville City.
The neighbouring North Queensland Stadium is currently at 38% of completion, and on track to be completed for the start of the 2020 NRL season.
With the move to a CBD home ground ahead in the coming months, Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said the announcement was an important step towards streamlining the club’s operations.
“We’ve been fortunate to secure continued tenancy at our current base at 1300SMILES Stadium and we’re expecting to operate from our existing HQ for at least the 2020 season,” Mr Reibel said.
“However, it’s very important that we have a short-term transition plan to unite our administration, training and commercial operations with our playing base, for efficiency and continuity, and because we are certain it will be the best setup for a winning NRL team.”
The 17,000m2 site, located within the Townsville City Waterfront Priority Development Area, will incorporate a full-sized training field (approximately 12,000m2) and provide modern facilities currently unavailable in Townsville, including:
- High-performance athletic training environment, including altitude and heat training facilities, for the Cowboys, North Queensland athletes and sporting teams and visiting elite teams
- Co-located orthopaedic/sports medicine consulting, sports science and research facilities, as well as on-site sports medical consulting and rehabilitation services. (Cowboys, JCU and Mater Hospital are currently in advanced discussions around these arrangements.)
- Centrally-located meeting and office space for North Queensland Toyota Cowboys and Cowboys Community Foundation administration teams
- Platform to expand the Cowboys’ commitment to supporting North Queensland’s elite sporting female talent, including its Memorandum of Understanding with the Townsville Fire and development of local female grassroots rugby league talent
Access to the facility will be enhanced by the $10.2 million Townsville Waterfront Promenade project announced by Townsville City Council and the Queensland Government last week, incorporating conversion of the existing Little Fletcher Bridge to a pedestrian bridge, giving a direct link to the new stadium from the Central precinct.
Top image: Good news day – Cowboys captain Michael Morgan; LNP Candidate for Herbert Phillip Thompson; Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini; Cowboys coach Paul Green; Cowboys Chief Operating Officer Micheal Luck.