Queensland sports minister Michael de Brenni has promised an answer on whether the ageing Ballymore Stadium will be granted a long-needed facelift by the end of the year.
The Queensland Rugby Union has submitted a proposal for a redevelopment of the precinct in inner-city Brisbane, which would see it become a national training centre for women’s rugby and a secondary headquarters for the Wallabies and Olympic rugby sevens programs.
The QRU is seeking an investment of $15 million from the state government, which would be matched by the federal government.
Under the plans, the eastern stand at Ballymore would be retained, but the decaying McLean Stand replaced by a new wing which would also extend back to the adjacent training field and contain an elite training facility.
The new stand would enable the Queensland Reds to play at least some of their Super Rugby matches at Ballymore.
It could also play host to games as part of a women’s World Cup in rugby (2021) or soccer (2023).
Suncorp Stadium is the only rectangular venue in Brisbane currently fit to host professional sport.
De Brenni said the proposal would be considered as part of a wide-ranging review of sporting infrastructure in Queensland, which is currently underway.
“We’ve got to look at not only how we deliver at your local football club but places like Ballymore and what we need to do at Suncorp to keep it being a world-class stadium,” he told reporters.
“We’re committed to doing that in 2018 so I expect government to consider the results of that community, sports fan and importantly athlete consultation by the end of this year.”
However, an answer may be needed sooner for aspiring A-League club Brisbane City, who intend to play their home games at Ballymore.
A decision on which two new teams will join an expanded A-League is due to be made in October, with City’s bid hinging on a renovation of the dilapidated venue.
The QRU’s case for a funding injection will be much stronger if a renovated Ballymore could be used by multiple sports.
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