Following speculation from a number of quarters that Clive Palmer may or may not continue his support of Gold Coast United Football Club, Sunshine Coast Mayoral Candidate Brett Winkler has offered the mining magnate an opportunity to develop his own national franchise right here on the Sunshine Coast with direct support and incentives from the Council, should Mr Winkler be elected as Mayor.
“Clive Palmer is exactly the type of person that we need here on the Sunshine Coast to help give us the kickstart that we so desperately need. Apart from his core business of mining, his involvement in sporting and community clubs is well regarded and it is a perfect opportunity to help the regional economy diversify and as a by-product, support some of our cornerstone industry sectors that are currently under pressure.”
Central to Winkler’s offer to Mr Palmer is a 75Ha parcel of land opposite the Sunshine Coast Turf Club that was secured by the Sunshine Coast Council late in 2011. This area has been earmarked for future sport and recreation use and if utilised correctly, has the potential to become a regional centrepiece that feeds and stimulates the entire sport and recreation landscape for the region, not just in economic terms but also community health and well-being.
“Many will know of my endeavours to bring a national sporting franchise to the region and how I have fought for essential infrastructure across the sport and recreation landscape. Some of those building blocks are now in place and I know how to get us to the next stage.”
“People also need to know though that this is far more than just a home for a rugby league, AFL, rugby union or a football team. It is also about a home for a huge industry that will become a world famous brand,” Winkler added.
In a time when the region is crying out for economic diversity, the sport and recreation industry is a proven winner with massive growth potential. Winkler clearly acknowledged that we need to diversify across a range of industry sectors already nominated by council but this particular sector has for sometime been a serious target for many regional centres and councils across Australia. And Winkler feels that the time to move, is now.
“We don’t need to procrastinate anymore on this one. This is a ready-to-go market and Clive Palmer (or any other major player for that matter) will be given every assistance under my leadership to deliver investment to this particular growth industry for the Sunshine Coast region. This project will encompass and compliment our existing sport and rec infrastructure, ensure a flow down effect for the region’s sporting clubs and put money in the pockets of tourism, hospitality, construction, health, medical and service sectors. And that means jobs.”
“We need to become the Sports Training Capital of Australia, if not the Asia Pacific,” Winkler added.
While a core focus of Winkler’s vision is to ultimately bring a national franchise to the Sunshine Coast with a ‘true’ national standard stadium, the other immediate opportunities lie in creating a regional sport and recreation hub at the Caloundra site (complementing the existing Sunshine Coast Turf Club facility) that will encompass training and educational facilities, community recreational amenities, budget accommodation, an indigenous Centre of Excellence, associated health and sports medicine operations that integrate with the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and a sports business incubator that would be linked with the USC and TAFE.
“Local government can’t pick up the tab on everything. We need to go to the private sector, show them a carrot and offer an attractive commercial return on their investment. There will always be a degree of government sector funding at various levels available but these days we need to innovate to deliver and fast track much needed infrastructure for the region. And I can deliver the innovation that we need.”