Mackay’s place as a national destination for AFL and cricket has been confirmed with the first sod turned today (27 September) on the $24.2 million Stage one of the Great Barrier Reef Arena redevelopment at Harrup Park sporting complex.
Member for Mackay and Assistant Health Minister Julieanne Gilbert said the redevelopment would support 80 jobs during construction for the Palaszczuk Government’s COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan.
“Today we’re getting the ball rolling on a Palaszczuk Government election commitment to put $10 million toward the first stage of the Great Barrier Reef Arena Redevelopment.” Ms Gilbert said.
“The project delivers a new covered grandstand, facilities for elite players, match officials and broadcast TV crews, plus room for an extra 10,000 spectators.
“Mackay’s Great Barrier Reef Arena precinct development includes the North Stand – a two-level grandstand with nearly 2000 undercover seats.
“With six sporting ovals, broadcast quality lighting, change rooms, and function facilities, Harrup Park is primed for a game-changing development.
“These works, in partnership with the Australian Government and Mackay Cricket Association, will create an international standard sporting venue capable of hosting major national and international games and carnivals.
“The venue has just wrapped up three hugely successful women’s One Day Internationals between Australia and India, so imagine what we can do once the redevelopment is complete.”
Stage one of the project starting now, is jointly funded by the Palaszczuk Government ($10 million), Australian Government ($10 million) and Mackay Cricket Association ($4.2 million).
Ms Gilbert said completion of stage one was expected late next year and would also include new food outlets, toilets and change rooms, and a community events precinct.
“This will also be a fantastic venue for major sporting events, community cultural events, gatherings and concerts for use all year round,” Ms Gilbert said.
“Existing amenities will be upgraded, change rooms will be refurbished to unisex facilities, and the field upgraded to accommodate more international games.
“More opportunity to bring elite sport to Mackay benefits tourism operators and our pandemic recovery.
“Stage two of the Great Barrier Reef Arena development is currently in planning and expected to include a gym, community sport training facilities, room for regional sport programs and high-performance training capacity, which will be an asset in the leadup to the Brisbane 2032 Games.”
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the Great Barrier Reef Arena will not only create local jobs during its imminent construction but it promises to make Mackay the regional home of cricket in Australia.
“That means more sporting tourism for our region which in turn means more ongoing local jobs,” Mr Christensen said.
Harrup Park Country Club and Mackay Cricket Association Chairman Terry Doolan said the investment of the Palaszczuk Government in Great Barrier Reef Arena will create one of Australia’s best regional event destinations and community precincts.
“We would particularly like to thank the Palaszczuk Government for recognising the huge value of this project to the region and state,” Mr Doolan said.
“It will provide vital ongoing stimulus to our visitor economy, create new jobs and be a place that everyone in Mackay and the region will enjoy and be proud of for generations to come.
“Great Barrier Reef Arena will inspire participation, celebrate community and promote our world-renowned natural wonders.
“It will attract visitors from around the state, nation and globe to enjoy the pleasures of reef, rainforest and region.
“The success of the first international women’s cricket series ever played in regional Queensland at Great Barrier Reef Arena over the past week has provided just a taste of the many ground-breaking events that will be presented here in the future.
“Our vision is to continue to build on the Queensland Government’s investment to ensure that Great Barrier Reef Arena becomes a major cultural and sporting landmark for our state.”
Cricket Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Nick Hockley said the commencement of Stage 1 of the Great Barrier Reef Arena development was an exciting milestone.
“We congratulate and thank all involved in the project,” Mr Hockley said.
“We have been thrilled to watch the Australian Women’s Team take on India at the Arena over the past week and with its transformation into a world-class venue, we look forward to seeing more and more cricket played there in years to come.”
Harrup Park Country Club supports 61 sporting clubs and more than 28,000 members, playing a vital role in the health, wellbeing, and entertainment of people across the region.