While a pledge of $20 million was confirmed in late 2020 by the Queensland State Government, together with pledges of $11 million from local community philanthropists, the Federal Government has failed to commit funding for the Sunshine Coast Stadium expansion project (Stage 1) in the May Budget.
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson in a statement released today expressed disappointment in the decision.
His statement reads:
“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 – with the remaining $48 million committed by two local philanthropists ($11 million), Sunshine Coast Council ($17 million) and the Queensland Government ($20 million, subject to the Commonwealth contributing $20 million).
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 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 State 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.”