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20,000 seat stadium to be built at Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds as temporary Gabba replacement

20,000 seat stadium to be built at Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds as temporary Gabba replacement
December 1, 2023

The Queensland Government has announced that the Main Arena at Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds has been identified as the best possible temporary venue for the Brisbane Lions and cricket during the redevelopment of the Gabba for the 2032 Olympics.

The Queensland Government announced today that following an “extensive South East Queensland-wide review” it will commit $46 million to a $137 million “cost-effective” redevelopment of the showring, requesting that the remaining $91 million cost be shared between Brisbane City Council, AFL and cricket authorities and the Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland.

Seeking a home venue for the Brisbane Lions AFL team and Brisbane Heat T20 cricket franchise during the expected four-year rebuild of the Gabba from late 2025, the RNA Showgrounds’ inner-city location beside a Cross River Rail station and proximity to after-game entertainment precincts was assessed as the most appealing option for spectators and the community.

The upgrade would create a permanent seating bowl below a temporary grandstand that, a press statement from Queensland Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe argued, would “create a lasting community legacy for bringing city and country together at the Ekka”.

Seating at the venue would be scaled back to 12,000 seats after Brisbane 2032. 

Minister Hinchliffe advised “the (Queensland) Government has worked closely with cricket and the AFL to find the best alternative venue for teams, spectators and the community while The Gabba is out of action.

“Upgrading the RNA Main Arena means keeping the big games in Brisbane and supporting the visitor economy while delivering an EKKA legacy for uniting city and country.

“Most Queenslanders acknowledge cricket and the AFL will need somewhere to play during The Gabba redevelopment. With many families facing cost-of-living pressures, the upgrade of RNA’s Main Arena is a logical solution, representing the best value-for-money for Queenslanders.”

Minister Hinchliffe’s statement thanked Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner for his support, noting that he had lobbied for the Showgrounds option as a “no-brainer” to keep teams playing in their home city.

However, following today’s announcement, Lord Mayor Schrinner said he was “taken by surprise” by it, noting that it was the state’s responsibility to find a new home for the Lions and Queensland Cricket.

Lord Mayor Schrinner stated “it was the state government’s decision to tear down the Gabba so it’s the state government’s responsibility to find the Brisbane Lions and Heat a temporary home.”

Lord Mayor Schrinner said the Queensland Government had previously included relocation costs and the need for a temporary venue in the Gabba rebuild project - and that it was now “quite clear that they’ve undercooked the funding”.

He said the Council was “always happy to discuss making a minor contribution” but the project would not go ahead “based on this funding model”.

The proposal suggests that work on the RNA Main Arena must begin by next year to be ready for the 2025/26 cricket season and the 2026 start of The Gabba redevelopment.

Image shows the concept for the redeveloped Main Arena at Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds. Credit: Queensland Government.

Related Articles

30th November 2023 - Work commences on refurbishment of Suncorp Stadium’s Members Reserve

24th November 2023 - Queensland Government announces commencement of design and construction procurement for new Gabba Stadium

11th November 2023 - 20 Year Plan laid out with release of Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Legacy Strategy

13th October 2023 - Queensland Minister for Tourism, Sport and Olympics Stirling Hinchliffe to step down

17th September 2023 - Senate inquiry calls for ‘urgent review’ of Queensland Government’s $2.7 billion Gabba redevelopment

15th September 2023 - Queensland ‘Youfor2032’ program aims to discover next generation of Olympic and Paralympic athletes

12th September 2023 - Football Australia’s James Johnson calls for stadiums review ahead of 2032 Olympics and potential FIFA World Cup bid

31st August 2023 - 2023 Ekka attracts crowds of 400,000

23rd August 2023 - AOC’s Matt Carroll tells Federal Senate hearing that redevelopment of the Gabba for Brisbane Olympics is ‘not required’

12th August 2023 - RNA expects 100,000 to attend Ekka’s opening weekend

1st August 2023 - Development for Brisbane 2032 athletics warm-up facility will not require demolition of homes

28th July 2023 - Gabba rebuild prompts Queensland Cricket call for new 10,000 seat stadium at Albion

23rd June 2023 - Australian Government seeks advisors to drive major events through and beyond the Brisbane Olympics

26th May 2023 - Queensland Government announces next steps in planning for 2032 Olympics legacy

9th May 2023 - Federal budget set to deliver further $500 million for Brisbane Olympics but no funds for Victoria’s Commonwealth Games

24th April 2023 - Dianne Rigg appointed as new General Manager of Brisbane’s Ekka

9th August 2022 - Rising 2032 Olympics costs could see Gabba redevelopment exceed $1 billion

10th April 2022 - Queensland Premier names independent directors to Brisbane Olympics Organising Committee Board

21st November 2021 - Brisbane 2032 Olympic legacy factors in Woolloongabba Cross River Rail development

7th April 2020 - RNA announces cancellation of Brisbane’s Ekka

30th March 2020 - Queensland Government prepares to use Brisbane’s RNA showgrounds as a hospital for Coronavirus patients

8th August 2013 - Police highlight need for parental awareness as Ekka opens at new look RNA Showgrounds


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