A $40 million high-performance training centre for the North Queensland Cowboys has been officially opened in Townsville on Friday 7 May.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said supporting projects like the training centre were important in creating jobs, particularly during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“We’re talking about 213 jobs created during the construction period,” the Premier said.
“I understand that more than $71 million of work was generated for local businesses, helping them get through the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19.
“This means local jobs for local tradies.”
Member for Townsville and Resources Minister Scott Stewart said 83 per cent of sub-contractors were local subbies.
“There will be a further 58 full-time jobs supported at the Centre from 2022, with plans also for specialist high-performance under-graduate learning and research collaborations with James Cook University,” Me Stewart said.
“Investing in infrastructure like this not only create jobs but make Townsville a more exciting city.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the Hutchinson Builders Centre features state-of-the-art indoor training facilities, sports medicine laboratories and training fields on a 5,000 square metre parcel of land next to Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
“This three-level precinct is a game changer for the Cowboys, giving them high-performance training facilities to rival any in the country while helping the club retain and recruit talent,” Mr Harper said.
“There is an indoor multi-use synthetic turf training field which is convertible to a hard-court sports floor, a basketball court and gym overlooking the main training field.
“Recovery sessions will be enjoyable with three swimming pools, a heat and altitude chamber, sleep room, medical sports consulting and sports rehabilitation services.
“The Cowboys administration, hospitality, recreational and office areas include a boardroom, function room, lecture room, podium café and team shop in the main foyer.”
Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said Townsville City Council will be able to host events for the public at the community field next door.
“This is a venue which can be used by the entire Townsville community, including leased tenancies within the building,” Mr Walker said.
“The centre of excellence will attract more people and sporting teams to North Queensland and make the Cowboys a more enticing destination for players thinking about making the move north.
“Along with the Queensland Country Bank Stadium, the Hutchinson Builders Centre will help active Townsville’s city centre too which is why the Palaszczuk Government backed both these important projects.”
Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the new Cowboys’ facility was ideally positioned to establish North Queensland as a centre for specialist high-performance athletic training.
“There is growing demand among national and international sporting squads for access to quality, high-performance training facilities in the lead up to major competitions and events,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Elite athletes also need support services including accommodation, catering and transport which supports local jobs and additional economic activity in Townsville.
“The opening of the Cowboys’ High-Performance Centre is another important asset in the Palaszczuk Government’s continuing ‘targeted dialogue’ with the International Olympic Committee about Queensland as a potential host of 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
“It makes Townsville an attractive option for pre-Games training for competitors not only preparing for a possible 2032 Queensland Olympics, but also Paris in 2024 and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.”
The Cowboys Community, Training and High-Performance Centre was jointly funded by the Australian Government ($15 million) Queensland Government ($5 million) and the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility ($20 million loan).
North Queensland Toyota Cowboys CEO Jeff Reibel said the new facility is already a game-changer for the club.
“We had a vision for a new home for our club beside the amazing Queensland Country Bank Stadium, and now seeing and experiencing that vision – the Hutchinson Builders Centre – every day is a wonderful privilege,” said Mr Reibel.
“The North Queensland Toyota Cowboys thank the Queensland Government, and all of our stakeholders, for their support in bringing this amazing facility to life.
“Just three months into our move into this state-of-the-art community training and high-performance centre, our elite training and sports science hub is taking shape, we have hirers from a range of industries taking advantage of the facilities, and we’re looking forward to hosting our first community event on the training field in June.
“The move has taken our team’s preparation and recovery to a whole new level, with the new indoor training area, multi-pool zone, sleep room and bespoke auditorium of particular significance, while the proximity to the new stadium means that training on our home ground is just a step away.
“We’re very excited for the club’s future in our new home and for the economic and social impact it can make for our community.”
Hutchinson Builders Chairman Scott Hutchinson said it’s exciting to open the Centre on time and on budget as they establish a 10-year partnership with the club.
“We’re proud to lend our name to this prestigious new location and to show our long-term support for this powerhouse NRL club and their community vision,” said Mr Hutchinson.
“Hutchies has had an office in Townsville since 1987 and a long partnership with the Cowboys – it’s great to have had the opportunity to be part of this flagship sporting precinct.
“We wish the club and the team every success in their new home.”
The Cowboys have a long-term lease with Townsville City Council for use of the land, which includes use of the adjacent 12,000 square-metre community training field.