Premier Anna Bligh was impressed with Rockhampton’s renovated School of Arts.
Premier Anna Bligh was impressed with Rockhampton’s renovated School of Arts.

Stadium promised for Rocky

AS she formally opened Rockhampton’s historic School of Arts renovation yesterday, Premier Anna Bligh committed her government to pump millions of dollars into Central Queensland in years to come.

“This is a very exciting time for development in Rockhampton, the population is growing strongly and I’m sure there’s another list of projects being prepared at this time that we will be asked to support financially,” she said.

The Premier poured scorn on LNP leader John-Paul Langbroek’s claim that Labor had let the region down – and reconfirmed in writing the government’s commitment to build a stadium in Rockhampton if the CQ NRL bid succeeds.

She handed that letter to bid chairman Geoff Murphy with the wish that it will help convince NRL chief executive David Gallop to back the clamour for a Premiership team in the city.

Mr Murphy will be able to show Mr Gallop the formal offer during a planned two-day tour of the region in November.

And the Premier hinted that the government would be equally generous once detailed plans for phase two of Rockhampton’s riverbank redevelopment are presented.

It is understood there could be up to $60 million forthcoming over five years to fund a major transformation of the south bank.

“Central Queensland is one of the powerhouses of regional Australia and at the heart of our government’s economic agenda,” she said.

For every man, woman and child in CQ the government spends $5800 a year compared to $3500 for those in the south east corner.

“We have funded the opening up of industrial land, the expansion of Rockhampton Hospital, social infrastructure such as the refurbishment of the south side swimming pool and committed early to the CQ NRL bid because we have a long-term vision for Rockhampton.”

On the School of Arts she said the government recognised it had a duty to protect our heritage.

“This building is a testament to a time when there was a better understanding of the part played by arts and culture in enriching lives.

“Our forbears thought it was so important that they invested in buildings like this and we owe it to them to look after it.”

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