BIG PLANS: Mayoral candidate Gary Duffy wants to build a 20,000 seat stadium but Cr David Morrison says it won’t happen until city secures national team.
BIG PLANS: Mayoral candidate Gary Duffy wants to build a 20,000 seat stadium but Cr David Morrison says it won’t happen until city secures national team. Rob Williams

Ipswich stadium unlikely until we get national team

THERE will be no new major stadium constructed at North Ipswich Reserve until the city secures a national sporting franchise.

That is the word from Ipswich sports supremo Cr David Morrison in the wake of mayoral candidate Gary Duffy promising to build a 20,000 seat stadium if elected to office in 2016.

The Western Corridor NRL bid team plans to play its games out of Suncorp Stadium if it secures a licence and there are plans to build a training facility at Springfield.

Long term, there is a proposal to construct a stadium in the Ripley Valley area.

Cr Morrison, the chairman of parks, sport and recreation in Ipswich for the past 11 years, said "the mayor and current council would love to see a 20,000 seat stadium in Ipswich a reality and council has identified the North Ipswich Reserve as a possible site if funding did become available".

"However, unless major funding became available specifically for a stadium I cannot see it become a reality unless Ipswich has a national team," Cr Morrison said.

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"I have spoken to state sports ministers over the years regarding funding a 20,000 seat stadium in Ipswich. Their reply is basically the same, that when Ipswich gets a national team in the NRL, A-League or the AFL then come and talk.

"Ipswich has successfully hosted NRL and A-League teams, Brisbane Heat cricket, international hockey and national tennis and bowls and all have been very impressed with the facilities we have in Ipswich."

Cr Morrison said council was "constantly striving to provide the best facilities possible to all sporting codes".

"Our current priorities are to provide a home and a criterium track for cyclists and to expand and improve the Willowbank racing precinct," he said.

"I attend many sports functions where teams have come from across the nation for sports carnivals in Ipswich and one common phrase from visiting teams is 'I wish our council did half as much for sport as Ipswich Council does'.

"Council is always seeking funding opportunities and being prudent and strategic with the funding we have available."

Cr Morrison listed the following facilities the council wanted to provide the city: synthetic athletics track and cycling criterium track, a permanent home for gymnastics, expansion of the PCYC squash courts, large shed for cricket practice and fulfilling master plans at Saplings Pocket education and canoe area, Jim Donald Parklands, Tivoli Sports Complex, Redbank Plains Sports Complex, Rosewood Equestrian Centre, Ivor Marsden Cricket Precinct and Blackstone Hill Mountain Bike Trails.



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