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Federal Government stalls on $20 million commitment for Sunshine Coast Stadium expansion project

Federal Government stalls on $20 million commitment for Sunshine Coast Stadium expansion project
February 16, 2021

Sunshine Coast Council is facing the prospect of having to halt its plan to upgrade the Sunshine Coast Stadium having failed to secure a $20 million commitment from the Federal Government in the upcoming May Budget.

The $68 million Sunshine Coast Stadium expansion project (Stage 1) is being funded by a pledge of $11 million from local philanthropists Rod Forrester and Roy Thompson, $17 million from Sunshine Coast Council and a $20 million commitment from the Queensland Government, provided the Federal Government matched it.

However, despite the efforts of local Federal Member for Fisher, Andrew Wallace, his office has confirmed that the required funds will not be available in the May Budget.

In a statement, Sunshine Coast Council, Mayor Mark Jamieson expressed his disappointment, advising “obviously, we are incredibly disappointed at the decision by the Federal Government not to provide $20 million in its forthcoming Budget in May to contribute to the $68 million stage 1 expansion of the Sunshine Coast Stadium.

“As a stimulus project, the Sunshine Coast Stadium expansion ticks all the boxes. More than 300 jobs would have been created during construction and over $25 million in ongoing annual economic benefits for the region.

“The Stage 1 expansion of the Stadium had all of the other pieces of the puzzle in place … and there would have to be no other project in the nation in this position, with such a strong commitment from local and state governments and significant funds from private contributors.

“So needless to say, it is perplexing why the Federal Government can’t see its way clear to contribute the remaining $20 million through its next budget – particularly when the Commonwealth has seen its way clear to contribute $15 million to the redevelopment of Ballymore in Brisbane and $23 million towards a stadium at Victoria Park in Rockhampton.

“This is also on the back of the $100 million the Federal Government contributed in recent years to the (Queensland Country Bank) Stadium in Townsville.

“What this means is that work on the Sunshine Coast Stadium expansion will not commence later this year, as originally planned, and the project will be pushed back until such time as the $20 million funding gap is filled.

“Clearly, that will add to the cost of the project the longer it is deferred and may potentially place at risk the contributions from the two philanthropists and the (Queensland) Government if they do not agree to maintain their funding commitments on a deferred basis.

“Council will continue to work with the Federal Government and the Member for Fisher to convince them of the need for this project, the strong local support it enjoys and to secure the required $20 million.

“Council is not in a position to be contributing the $20 million itself to cover the funding gap left by the Federal Government’s decision not to fund the project in this year’s Budget. Council has already outlaid on behalf of ratepayers, up to $50 million towards the development and maintenance of the Sunshine Coast Stadium complex to create the venue that it is today.”

With the Federal Government not contributing to the project, Roy Thompson has threatened to pull his $10 million funding pledge, telling the Sunshine Coast Daily “it's going to cost us big time because we're going to lose it.”

Concept images for the expanded Sunshine Coast Stadium. Credit: Sunshine Coast Council.

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