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NAIF funding for Cowboys Community Centre meets milestone

Funding for the new state-of-the-art Cowboys Community, Training and High Performance Centre continues to take shape with the advancement of a Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan moving to the next stage of approval.

The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys’ application to NAIF has progressed, with NAIF’s Board making an Investment Decision to approve a loan to the project.

The $20 million NAIF loan would complement the existing $15 million Federal Government grant announced in March enabling the construction of the project to commence. Completion is targeted for the facilities to be available for the 2021 NRL season. 

The proposed centre, to be located adjacent to the new North Queensland Stadium in Townsville, 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.

Cowboys Chairman Laurence Lancini welcomed the funding news, as the plan to create a multi-purpose facility alongside the club’s new home ground continues to gain momentum.

“Funding support from NAIF is a crucial part of our business plan for our new centre, and we are grateful to NAIF for their consideration and positive response to our application,” Mr Lancini said.

“We also recognise the ongoing commitment of Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Senator Matt Canavan and Member for Herbert Phillip Thompson OAM to this project.

“Our planning has continued as each milestone has been met, to keep us on track for a completion timeline of January 2021 when we would reunite our playing and administration areas.

“The economic and social contribution of the development and operations of the centre will have a significant impact on our region, and we’re delighted to also share this positive news with our stakeholders.”

Acting CEO of NAIF Amanda Copping congratulated the Cowboys on reaching a critical stage of the funding process.

“This commitment to the Cowboys proposed High Performance and Community Centre is a further demonstration that NAIF funding is supporting economic and social development in Northern Australia, particularly Queensland.”

“The NAIF investment mandate requires each project be assessed against five eligibility criteria: it must involve the construction or material enhancement of northern Australia economic infrastructure; it must be of public benefit; it must be located in or have significant benefit for northern Australia; it must require a loan that is able to be repaid or refinanced; and it must include an Indigenous Engagement Strategy,” Ms Copping said.

“We are pleased to support the Cowboys and be part of this important community infrastructure, that will benefit Townville and North Queensland.

NAIF’s Investment Decision is subject to the Minister for Northern Australia, Matt Canavan’s legislative consideration period and the finalisation of the Queensland Government’s consideration of the project.”

Member for Herbert Phil Thompson said the milestone was an important one for the North.

“Our Government is committed to creating economic opportunity in North Queensland and NAIF is central to the process of assessing infrastructure projects like the Cowboys Community, Training and High Performance Centre and providing recommendation for funding,” Mr Thompson said.

“As a North Queenslander, I’m very passionate about this project and its benefits to the community, region and our team, the North Queensland Cowboys.

“It’s crucial that investment in our regional areas, particularly Townsville as we recover from historic flooding early this year, is supported and we look forward to the outcome of Senator Canavan’s review.”

The centre’s 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.

The facility will provide a high-performance athletic training environment for local and visiting teams, co-located orthopaedic/sports medicine consulting, sports science and research facilities in conjunction with James Cook University and Mater Health Services, and centrally located meeting and office spaces.

The Cowboys will continue to operate and train from 1300SMILES Stadium in 2020, while work on the new centre would begin in December 2019.