Rugby Australia and the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) have welcomed today’s $15 million funding commitment from the Federal Government towards the redevelopment of Ballymore Park into a world-class sports precinct and community facility.
Bridget McKenzie, the Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation committed the funding towards the proposed $35 million National Rugby Training Centre (NRTC), which will include a national headquarters for women’s Rugby.
The NRTC will enable Rugby Australia to base its national women’s XV-a-side program to Queensland, helping to inspire a new generation of female sporting talent with a world-class training facility, along with providing a home for the Qantas Wallabies in Queensland.
The NRTC will also house the St.George Queensland Reds and the QRU’s academy program as well as other programs including the QRU’s Queensland Academy of Sport Sevens program, referee, club Rugby administration and representative programs.
The redevelopment includes an integrated 3,000-seat stand replacing the McLean Stand’s capacity, allowing for games such as Queensland Premier Rugby club finals as well as Wallaroos Tests and other matches. The facility will also be able to cater for other sporting events of between 10 to 12,000 spectators.
Queensland Rugby Union Chief Executive Officer David Hanham said the NRTC would be the centrepiece of a transformation of the ageing precinct into a world-class community sporting facility.
“I would like to thank Minister McKenzie and local member Trevor Evans for their commitment to Ballymore,” he said.
“The NRTC is crucial to the development of the game and will also help the QRU devote more resources into grassroots rugby by alleviating the $1.5 million maintenance costs for the ageing Ballymore facilities.
“It is also an exciting project for our community, preserving and enhancing their access to the precinct. Our vision is for a sporting facility with extensive parks and activities that invite our neighbours in, rather than keeping them out.”
The announcement guarantees Federal funding for Ballymore, with matching $15 million commitments by both major parties over the past week.
The QRU has had positive discussions with the Queensland Government about a matching $15 million commitment, with Australian Rugby also contributing $5 million to the project.
Rugby Australia Chief Executive Officer Raelene Castle said the funding commitment for the NRTC secures a bright future for one of Australia’s iconic Rugby landmarks.
“Rugby Australia is extremely grateful for the support of the Australian Government for a world-class facility, which has paved the way for the Government to bring to life the original vision of the former Liberal Prime Minister, John Howard for Ballymore.
“We have been fortunate to have received strong support for our game, from grassroots to the elite level – particularly here in Queensland – from the current Government to fund critical infrastructure, in addition to backing key projects, such as our Women’s Rugby World Cup Bid and our scoping for the 2027 Rugby World Cup.
“The NRTC will be a transformational home for our women’s fifteen-a-side program and a world-class option for Qantas Wallabies training camps and the delivery of development and pathways programs.
“Securing bi-partisan Government support for the development of the NRTC is a crucial step forward in Rugby Australia and the QRU’s plans for Ballymore and we will continue to work with the Queensland Government to unlock a matching commitment,” she said.
The National Rugby Training Centre
The NRTC concept has been designed by Nicholas George of TVS Architects. TVS also designed Cricket Australia’s National Cricket Centre in Albion, Brisbane.
It will feature an integrated 3,000-seat stand replacing the existing McLean Stand.
Spread over 6,500 square metres, it will feature changerooms for up to 80 men and women and cutting-edge sports science and recovery facilities.
The facility will also be able to be used as a community meeting space.