Ballymore's revamp a step closer
Ballymore’s long wait for an upgrade is a step closer after an AU$15 million pre-election state government promise that would see Brisbane rugby’s heartland become the home of the Wallaroos.
The Australian women’s rugby team would join the Queensland Reds at the AU$30 million National Rugby Training Centre to give the once-proud venue new life after years of decay.
The venue could host multiple sports if Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic bid is successful and also bolster Australia’s 2027 Rugby World Cup hosting hopes and act as a training base for the Wallabies or touring Test nations.
Ballymore will feature an integrated stand to replace the existing McLean Stand, which was first built in 1968 and extended in the 1970s, as well as men’s and women’s changerooms and recovery facilities.
In 2007, then Prime Minister John Howard guaranteed an AU$25 million funding commitment, only for the project to be canned the following year by Kevin Rudd after Labor won the federal election.
Support from both sides came ahead of last year’s federal election, with a Palaszczuk Labor government victory later this year ironically ensuring construction begins in April 2021.
QRU boss David Hanham said the commitment was “the culmination of many years of work by the QRU” and would allow women’s rugby to thrive in the state.
“We haven’t had a discussion with the LNP, but we will have a chat to them about it,” the QRU CEO said.
“It’s a great project. It shouldn’t be one that’s not supported by both parties, like it was in the federal election.
“So bipartisan support would be great but we’re here with the Labor government today and they’ve shown that they want to back it.”
Rugby Australia forecast women’s participation levels to double “in coming years” from the 16,000 currently playing the game.
“Rugby in Queensland is incredibly strong, with growth in all forms of the game,” Rugby Australia chairman Hamish McLennan said.
“The NRTC is an exciting project, providing a world-class facility with warmer temperatures as the new home of the Buildcorp Wallaroos.”