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Entsch wants sports facilities in Cairns Cultural Precinct
Warren Entsch, the new Liberal National Party Federal member for the north Queensland seat of Leichhardt, has committed to changing plans for the planned Cairns Cultural Precinct so that the development includes significant sporting infrastructure.
Entsch plans to introduce a 20,000-seat football stadium alongside Cairns' planned new performing arts centre.
With the backing of the Queensland Government, the Cairns Regional Council has been pushing for the construction of a $240 million centre on the Cairns waterfront, which would include a performing arts complex, museum and restaurant precinct.
The Council and Queensland Governments had each pledged to fund a third of the project while the Federal Coalition had promised a $40 million contribution during the recent Federal Election.
However, the newly elected Entsch has quickly issued a combatitive press release calling for funds committed by all levels of Government to go to developing a tropical sports precinct and providing further tourism opportunities in Cairns.
Entsch's statement read "instead of splashing out on one abuilding that will seat just 1,500 people, I want to create real jobs and real opportunities to bring more visitors to Cairns."
Entsch said his vision for a cultural precinct and tropical sports centre includes:
• A 1.500 seat Cultural Centre, located next to the existing Convention Centre, with the same amount of exhibition space available
• A Maritime Museum
• An aquarium
• A 5,000 seat, Olympic standard hockey and netball stadium
• A 20,000 seat football stadium, capable of hosting rugby league, rugby union and football matches
• The Revamping of the Tobruk Swimming Pool, to create a 50 metre Olympic sized pool and a diving facility, which would also cater for synchronised swimming and water polo events
• The establishment of a Tropical Sports Medicine Faculty at James Cook University
Entsch said his Cultural Precinct would still provide the same amount of exhibition space and theatre seating, but changing the location would allow the committed funds to be spent on actual infrastructure, rather than land to put it on.
Entsch added "under this proposal, there is space for hotels adjacent to the Cultural Centre and space for an office block near the new marina, allowing the private sector to contribute to offsetting the cost of building these precincts.
"While the current proposal only allows for 1,500 more seats â my plan will allow Cairns to attract 30,000 people at a time for events.
"Unlike Townsville, Cairns has the accommodation and facilities available to host major events without having to rent our spare rooms.
"With stadiums capable of hosting international events coupled with the new tennis centre, Cairnsâ excellent BMX track and other facilities around town, Cairns can become a tropical centre for sports tourism and training."
Cairns Mayor Val Schier says she is looking forward to working with Entsch and seeing his plans for the sporting and cultural precinct, stating "I'd be hoping to have a discussion with Mr Entsch as soon as possible about how we go forward in relation to achieving the infrastructure that we need for this region.
"The main thing we need in this city is a new theatre."
16th July 2010 - CAIRNS CULTURAL PRECINCT CAMPAIGNS GO ONLINE
9th June 2010 - QUEENSLAND BUDGET BACKS ARTS, CULTURE AND VENUES
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