The future of Queensland rugby’s iconic Ballymore ground is now secure with the Liberal National Party today making an election commitment to match the Federal Government’s $15 million investment in the National Rugby Training Centre and new McLean Stand.
The announcement means the critical Ballymore redevelopment is now supported by both major parties in this weekend’s State Election.
The NRTC will be the new national headquarters for women’s rugby, including the national Buildcorp Wallaroos side, as well as a reinvigorated training base for the St.George Queensland Reds men’s and women’s sides and other Queensland programs.
The stunning $30 million high-performance centre will include a new McLean Stand and become the centrepiece of a redevelopment of Ballymore as an elite sports precinct. The new McLean Stand will retain its name, which honours the contribution of the McLean family to Queensland Rugby.
The LNP has also committed a further $2.5 million to redevelop Townsville’s ageing Hugh Street rugby ground.
QRU Chief Executive Officer David Hanham said: “The NRTC and new McLean Stand is the first stage in redeveloping Ballymore into a world-class elite sports precinct. Securing a commitment from the LNP guarantees a project which has been more than a decade in the making.
“It is also an important first step for Queensland in developing a 100-hectare community precinct for the Olympics, centred on Ballymore and the Newmarket sports fields to the north.
“The promised redevelopment of Hugh Street in Townsville is equally important for the future of our game in the North.
“Townsville has more than 3000 registered rugby union players – more than rugby league – and Hugh Street is an important community asset as well as a sporting one.”
Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan thanked the LNP for its commitment to rugby union.
“This announcement not only secures the future of Ballymore, it recognises the strength of our game in regional and especially North Queensland,” he said.
“It matches the Federal funding from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, which has allowed the QRU to begin early works on the project.
“It also allows rugby to realise the vision of former Prime Minister John Howard for a national training centre at Ballymore.”
The National Rugby Training Centre
The stunning NRTC has been designed by Michael Rayner of Blight Rayner Architects, who are also responsible for the New Performing Arts Complex (NPAC) at Southbank.
It will feature an integrated 3010-capacity new McLean Stand, replacing the existing stand which was first built in the 1968 and extended in the 1970s. This will allow for continued Premier Rugby finals, representative matches and other events such as Wallaroos Tests.
Spread over almost 4000 square metres, it will feature changerooms for up to 100 men and women and house cutting edge sports science and recovery facilities.
Brisbane-based RPS are project managers, with construction expected to commence in mid-2021.
Hugh Street Rugby Redevelopment
Hugh Street is the headquarters of the Townsville and District Rugby Union, and the home of all finals and representative matches in Townsville.
The planned redevelopment includes new male and female changerooms, renovated fields and function spaces.