Cowboys new home gets go-ahead

Johnathan Thurston demanded it and the election delivered it.

A new stadium in Townsville is set to be built just outside the Queensland city’s CBD after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull committed his government to providing $100 million in funding for the project.

Labor leader Bill Shorten had last week committed to providing the same amount if he was successful in next month’s Federal election.

Turnbull’s announcement came less than a week after the Queensland Government committed to provide $140 million of the funds for the $250 million project, with the NRL stumping up the remaining $10 million.

Confirmation of the funding comes eight months after Johnathan Thurston used his post-game speech after North Queensland’s NRL grand final victory to tell the world the area “deserves a new stadium”.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg welcomed the PM’s announcement.

“This is terrific news not just for Townsville, but for all of North Queensland,” Greenberg said.

“A new stadium will deliver 1650 jobs for the city at a time of need and it will be the cornerstone of a new entertainment precinct in the city.

“So not only will our fans benefit from a better experience in a new stadium, but the people of Northern Queensland will benefit from new jobs and an influx of cash into the local economy.”

A schedule for the construction of the stadium is yet to be announced.

It’s a big win for Cowboys chairman Laurence Lancini, who claimed in May the NRL club’s future was under serious threat unless a new stadium was built.

Their home ground, 1300SMILES Stadium – also known as the Willows Sports Complex – is a converted greyhound track that was transformed into a rugby league ground when the Cowboys entered the-then ARL competition in 1995.

Lancini said the distance of the current ground from the Townsville CBD as well as its “increasingly dilapidated” state meant it was nearing the end of its economic life.

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