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Wednesday, 15 October 2008
Page: 9273


Mr CIOBO (9:42 AM) —The Gold Coast is Australia’s sixth largest and fastest-growing city, so it is with great delight that I recognise the tremendous efforts by a group of committed Gold Coasters, most notably John Witheriff, Graeme Downie, Guy McKenna and Scott Munn, all of whom worked tirelessly for over 12 months on the development, and for several years on the conception, of the Gold Coast 17 bid team. This, of course, is the bid team to secure the 17th AFL licence for the Gold Coast.

On Monday, 13 October, the team submitted its formal proposal to the AFL Commission for the 17th AFL licence. I am proud to say that I am one of the 42,000 registered supporters—which is double the number required by the AFL—who demonstrate the on-the-ground commitment of Gold Coasters to a 17th AFL licence for the Gold Coast. So far the bid team has been able to secure some 114 local businesses to get behind the bid, and in addition to that they have already formed 10 mid-level to serious partnerships with a number of national as well as local sponsors.

The Gold Coast is certainly very excited about the opportunity that presents itself now for it to have a dedicated, Gold Coast based AFL team. We have seen the support that has arisen from the community for other sporting teams, such as the Gold Coast Titans, recently but the time has certainly come, in a city that is rapidly maturing and enjoying strong grassroots support, for the bid team to now secure that 17th licence.

There is a key and fundamental point, though, and that is that we need to see either the redevelopment of the Carrara Stadium or the creation of a new stadium. The council has already offered some $20 million of funding for the redevelopment of Carrara, but what is required now is a commitment from the state and federal governments of some serious money towards a dedicated AFL ground or the redevelopment of Carrara Stadium if we are going to be successful. The redevelopment is expected to boost Carrara Stadium’s capacity by about 27,000 to provide a total of around 40,000 seats. It would be a multi-use facility, not just for AFL but also for cricket and athletics, and with the city preparing for a Commonwealth Games bid the redevelopment of Carrara would play a very crucial role in ensuring that our city has the very best chance possible to secure the Commonwealth Games in the future.

I would also urge the Queensland Labor government to ensure that they move away from this ridiculous agreement they have in place that bans any AFL team being on the Gold Coast or playing AFL on the Gold Coast with a Gold Coast based team until 2016. That was a short-sighted decision the Queensland government took in the past. It is time now to move on, to see real commitment from the state government and from the Rudd Labor government to putting money into a project that certainly does have strong grassroots support—there are tens of thousands of supporters, of which I am only one; and I look forward to our success in the future.