LNP candidate Chris Bonanno, Harrup Park Country Club general manager Adrian Young, Harrup Park Country Club chief executive Matt Cielens and LNP's David Crisafulli. Picture: supplied
LNP candidate Chris Bonanno, Harrup Park Country Club general manager Adrian Young, Harrup Park Country Club chief executive Matt Cielens and LNP's David Crisafulli. Picture: supplied

Harrup Park: LNP arena pledge triggers funding squabble

THE LNP will match the Federal Government’s $10 million for a long-awaited Mackay arena upgrade if it wins government on October 31.

But the pledge has kicked off a war of words between two political rivals, with LNP Mackay candidate Chris Bonanno claiming Labor’s commitment to the project is “not locked in”.

Harrup Park’s Great Barrier Reef Arena upgrade received a $10 million commitment from the Labor Government last month.

The LNP has announced $10 million for the arena today.

The project has already received $10 million in Federal Government funding, but needed matched funding from the state to go ahead.

Mr Bonanno said he understood Labor would only provide $10 million for the project if re-elected.

ARENA PROJECT: An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef Arena. Picture: Cox Architecture
ARENA PROJECT: An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef Arena. Picture: Cox Architecture

“The State Labor Government and the Member for Mackay have had 18 months to match the funding provided by the Federal Coalition Government and get this project moving,” he said.

“Once again we see a complete lack of action and commitment, until five minutes before an election, when the Labor Premier says the funding is ‘committed under my government’.

“So it’s still not locked in.

“After 18 months of time wasting, Labor could do nothing more than make a promise.”

The Daily Mercury put questions to Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert’s office seeking clarification over whether the funding was an election promise or committed money.

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In response, Mrs Gilbert said Labor would deliver $10 million for Harrup Park as part of its regional economic recovery plan.

“The Great Barrier Reef Arena will be a fantastic community facility for all to enjoy in Mackay and it’s going to create ongoing jobs and be great for local businesses,” she said.

“A vote for Chris Bonanno is a vote for Deb Frecklington.

“The LNP have more than $26 billion in unfunded election promises.”

Mrs Gilbert called on LNP leader Deb Frecklington to explain how the party intended to fund its $26 billion in “unfunded promises”.

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert. Picture: Zizi Averill
Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert. Picture: Zizi Averill

Harrup Park Country Club chief executive Matt Cielens said he understood the funding from the Labor Government was guaranteed, no matter the election outcome.

“We haven’t been given any indication that it’s not,” he said.

But Mr Cielens said no matter what happened on October 31, both sides of politics had now committed the funding required.

“We’re obviously very happy that we’ve got strong bipartisan support,” he said.

“It just goes to show the strength of the project.”

The Great Barrier Reef Arena project is currently in the detailed design phase.

Construction is expected to start early next year and be completed within 12 months.

The upgraded arena is anticipated to be one of the nation’s premiere boutique sporting venues, capable of hosting major matches in the Big Bash, Women’s Big Bash and international cricket formats.

Mock images of the proposed Harrup Park upgrades, as designed by Cox Architecture.
Mock images of the proposed Harrup Park upgrades, as designed by Cox Architecture.

It would boast new community leisure facilities and green spaces capable of hosting a variety of community events such as market days, festivals and corporate events.

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Other new amenities flagged in the plans include international standard media and players facilities, food and beverage outlets, female change rooms and 2000 extra permanent arena seats.

The Daily Mercury has campaigned over the past 18 months to get the remaining arena funding over the line.



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