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Joint remarks: speech, Brookvale Oval, Sydney

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Joint Remarks, Brookvale Oval, Sydney August 18, 2013

Subjects: The Coalition’s commitment to upgrade Brookvale Oval.



It’s great to be here at Brookie Oval with Bronwyn, my fellow federal Parliamentary representative of the northern beaches. It’s great to be here with Scott Penn, with Kerry Sibraa and other stalwarts of the Manly Rugby League club.

This is a bit of a sacred site for people who live on the Peninsula. Whether we played Rugby League or not, all of us are very keen

to see the great Manly Warringah Sea Eagles do well and while the team does do well, is doing well, one thing that isn’t doing so well is this ground. It’s a great ground full of memory, full of history, but the facilities are tired and really need to be upgraded.

I was thrilled as a local Member to be able to get a million dollars in federal assistance towards the lighting which kept this ground

at NRL standard back in the middle years of the last decade, but plainly we do need to upgrade this ground again now.

It was good that the Labor Party played catch-up politics on this one. A few weeks ago, we had Anthony Albanese come along and announce that the current Government would give $10 million towards an upgrade of the ground. I was pleased to see that

after I’d been promising about that amount of money for the last couple of elections, the Labor Party has finally come good and I’m sure my old friend Kerry Sibraa had something to do with twisting Albo’s arm and trying to ensure that this commitment was

made, but look Bronwyn and I are both staunch supporters of this great side and this great ground.

I am pleased to say that should the Coalition win the election, we will make available $10 million towards an upgrade of the eastern stand to cover it, give it a 5,000 seat capacity. It’s a very important upgrade of a great ground and I’m going to ask

Bronwyn to speak to these remarks.


Thanks Tony and it’s true. We share the Peninsula and we share our passion for this ground and this is a club that has a heart. This is a club when you ask something of it, it does it, whether it’s when we’re doing the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal,

they’re there to help.

I think the upgrade of the ground is important because it must not disappear. It’s part and parcel of Rugby League. It’s part and parcel of having the game here and so to be able to announce today $10 million will come and should we be successful in being

elected, it will be a great pleasure to be - to see the work start and to be part of the great community that supports the club here.

So, we wish everybody here very well for the finals coming up to the grand final. We have great confidence, even have confidence about what the decision might be today, but I can only say that I’m delighted we are able to come together and say the money is

being made available.


And obviously Bronwyn and I are thrilled that as well as the officials of the club who are here today, we’ve got some of the greats of the club, Matt Ballin, Steve Matai and others down here to make us welcome and obviously to help enthuse the youngsters,

help them with their skills training because there are few things to enthuse a young player more than a chance to mix with the guys who they see playing on television every week. So it’s great to be here and Scott, do you want to say a few words today on

behalf of the club?


So, on behalf of the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles board and shareholders, I’d just very much like to welcome Tony and Bronwyn

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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here today and thank them very much on behalf of all the fans of the Sea Eagles for their commitment. Obviously Brookvale has missed out a number of times. We obviously need the funding to ensure that this ground does remain an NRL venue and we look

forward to hopefully breaking ground some time in the new year on the eastern side to make sure that our fans and members get the stand that they deserve, but thank you very much for the pledge today Tony and we’d like to present you with a jumper and a



Thanks so much mate. I think if I’m going to get a jumper, we’ve got to let Kerry say a few words. You’ve done some magic with Albo, so well done.


Actually, I’ve been going to see Albo and twisting his arm as you put it since 2008 and you know how many times I’ve been in to

see them. So, it was good to get that promise, but our committee that was formed nine months ago has been working extremely hard and when the New South Wales Government came out with a stadia strategy, things were looking bleak for Brookvale and a

fan wrote to me and he said this is more than a battle for the old Brookvale Oval, it’s a battle for the very existence of our club and with this contribution that you’re making today, you’re helping to ensure that we stay and play at Brookvale forever. We thank you

for it.


Thanks so much, well said.


Why are you announcing $10 million that Labor allocated in the May Budget for the Brookvale Oval?


Well it wasn’t allocated in the May Budget, it was allocated by Anthony Albanese as part of a series of grants to a number of sports grounds around Sydney just a couple of weeks ago.


Mr Albanese made the announcement about twelve days ago, but at the time he said the money was actually allocated in the May



There was no publication and typical of this Government, they put unallocated money into the Budget that they can then allocate when it suits their political purposes to do so. Now, I welcomed it, Bronwyn welcomed it because we have consistently supported

the upgrade of facilities here, but I think it’s important not just to welcome an announcement the other side has made, but to make it absolutely crystal clear that should we win the election, this money will be forthcoming, because as Kerry Sibraa has just pointed

out, this club, this Manly Warringah Sea Eagles side is a very important part of the northern beaches sense of self and northern beaches fans have demonstrated time and time again that they want to follow a club which is not only generated locally but which

plays locally and that’s why it’s very important that we continue to have this ground available as an NRL level ground so that the Many Warringah Sea Eagles can play here.

There’s a lot to be said for local patriotism. I think that the game of Rugby League, most sports are weakened, most team sports

are weakened if they lose that strong connection with the local area. We’ve still got a strong connection with the local area and long may that continue.


© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

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