MP's fight for footy stadium cash amid looming election
WORK on a plan to transform North Ipswich Reserve into a first-class football stadium remains at the forefront of community leaders' minds ahead of a looming election.
With the federal election poll expected in May, Member for Blair Shayne Neumann has teamed up with Ipswich City Council to secure funding for long-awaited upgrades to the reserve.
Mr Neumann, who committed $500,000 to upgrade the Reserve if Labor won the 2016 election, said he was again fighting to secure the cash.
"I'm still pushing,” he said.
"I'm working with the council and we're getting some quotes on it.”
Earlier this year the State Government approved up to $80,000 in grant funding for Ipswich City Council to develop a business case for the Ipswich Football Stadium at North Ipswich Reserve.
Upgrades to the facility are expected to cost about $750,000.
"I really think the change sheds need to be improved dramatically,” Mr Neumann said.
"They look like something out of pre-World War II.
"The administration block really needs a substantial upgrade and we need some additional seating in the area and some shade.”
Mr Neumann said he was "keen to get it done” and was preparing a case for cash.
"I've put that into something I am arguing internally in the Labor Party for us to recommit ourselves to,” he said.
"It's the premier sports stadium in Ipswich.
"It's the place rugby league and soccer is played and it's a very, very important venue.”
Ipswich City Council is understood to be progressing the business case.
Minister for State Development Cameron Dick said the case would "investigate the development of a major regional outdoor stadium to meet the growth of Ipswich region”.
The funding is part of the state's Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program.
Mr Neumann, a self-confessed rugby league tragic, had already secured $3.4 million to upgrade the corporate centre.
State Member for Ipswich West Jim Madden previously touted the economic benefit of upgrading the reserve.
"If successful, this infrastructure would drive economic development and local jobs during construction and beyond, by attracting major sporting events, and boosting local business and tourism opportunities in Ipswich,” he said.
"A first-class football stadium would help secure events like NRL, A-League and representative football matches, and would be a great community asset.”
Ipswich is expected to be a front-runner in the next battle for an A-League franchise.