Barlow Park to light up Cairns’ visitor economy


The first stage of Barlow Park’s 2032 Olympic Games upgrade will include broadcast TV lighting with a $4 million commitment locked into the Palaszczuk Government’s 2022-23 Budget.

Member for Cairns and Assistant Tourism Minister Michael Healy said the broadcast lighting upgrade would support more good, secure tourism jobs.

“We know when Cairns hosts big sporting events, they bring extra visitors who contribute to the city’s tourism economy,” Mr Healy said.

“The new LED lighting will help put Cairns and Barlow Park on the NRL’s radar for quality night-time premiership games.

“In a tropical climate like the Far North’s, night-time games are cooler and more comfortable for elite athletes and spectators.

“This $4 million investment in the Palaszczuk Government’s 2022-23 Budget delivers the high-quality lighting Barlow Park needs for nationally broadcast NRL football.

“That’s why we’ll be working closely with Cairns Regional Council to get the ball rolling on this important infrastructure upgrade for Barlow Park as soon as practical.

“We know once installed, new lighting will position Cairns to host more world-class sporting events from NRL to athletics and training camps.

“More high-quality sport broadcast live from Cairns to the nation has great potential to kick goals for growing and diversifying our visitor economy.”

The Palaszczuk Government’s $4 million Budget investment will upgrade Barlow Park’s existing 500 lux lighting to 1800 lux broadcast TV standard.

Tourism and Sport Minister and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement, Stirling Hinchliffe said broadcast lighting was an early 2032 Games legacy project.

“This is the first instalment in a larger proposed upgrade of Barlow Park for the 2032 Games,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“Queensland’s 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid included Barlow Park as a proposed venue for preliminary Olympic football matches.

“Barlow Park was accepted under the International Olympic Committee’s ‘new norm’ for the sustainability and affordability of future Games.

“More than 84 per cent of the venues we’ll need for the Brisbane 2032 Games are existing – like Barlow Park – or will be temporary.

“Proposed Barlow Park Olympic enhancements will be designed to maximise game-day experiences and position Cairns for pre-Games training, more athletics carnivals and NRL premiership matches.

“An upgraded Barlow Park is an important legacy we want to achieve from our decade-long green and gold runway to Brisbane 2032.”

Olympic upgrades proposed for Barlow Park also include new seating for 5,000, optimised amenities and other enhancements to ensure the venue is Games-ready.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning welcomed the funding for new lights.

“Meeting broadcasting standards provides more opportunities to chase premier sporting fixtures and adds to the city’s growing reputation as a major events destination,” Mayor Manning said.

“Every time we hold such events, it provides a boost to the local economy and is another chance to showcase our city and its many attributes across the State, the nation and the globe.

“I would like to thank the State Government for their commitment to this project, which will complement further venue upgrades anticipated in the lead up to the 2032 Olympics, to allow Barlow Park to host football matches.”

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said Cairns was part of rugby league heartland with passionate fans traveling from far and wide for NRL Premiership and preseason games.

“The planned upgrades, which include broadcast quality lights, will help Cairns secure more rugby league matches in the future,” Mr Abdo said.

“It’s a great time for rugby league in the Far North, with the future looking strong thanks to the support of the Queensland Government.”

Barlow Park’s broadcast television lighting installation will support 13 jobs.

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