Amidst the redevelopment of the Gabba for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brisbane’s RNA Showgrounds is poised to become a key player in the city’s sporting landscape.
The state government has unveiled a plan that includes the construction of a practical 20,000-seat stadium, revealing an investment of nearly $50 million from the government towards the estimated $150 million construction cost.
Under the government’s plan, the Brisbane City Council, RNA, and relevant sporting bodies are expected to also help fund the remaining costs of the upgraded RNA stadium.
However a spokesperson for Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said it was the state’s decision to tear down the Gabba stadium and therefore the state should find the Lions a temporary home during construction.
This half-baked announcement by the State is precisely why we need an independent infrastructure authority making decisions about the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
I’m pleased the State has finally recognised that Brisbane teams should keep playing in Brisbane while the Gabba is redeveloped.
However Lions and Heat fans will rightly be angry the State’s failure to make a proper funding commitment to this temporary stadium risks leaving their teams without a home
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner Spokesperson
The dilemma of where the Brisbane Lions, last year’s AFL grand finalists, would play during the Gabba’s reconstruction has been a topic of ongoing discussion however a final decision on this matter could be months away.
Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe shed light on the state’s commitment to invest up to $45.7 million in creating a permanent seating bowl beneath a temporary grandstand at Machinery Hill. This initiative is part of a more extensive $137 million main arena upgrade, aimed at facilitating major sporting events and establishing a “lasting community legacy.”
Upgrading the RNA main arena is viewed as a practical solution to the challenge of providing suitable venues for cricket and AFL during the Gabba redevelopment. Hinchliffe emphasised its cost-effectiveness, particularly in light of economic pressures faced by many families.
The government’s plan comes with a condition – the venue must revert to 12,000 seats in “legacy mode” post the 2032 Games. This condition aims to prevent events from being diverted from the newly revamped Gabba, which is undergoing a substantial $2.7 billion redevelopment.
The government has reportedly only informed other organising bodies and the council last Thursday with council surprised an additional $100 million would need to be sourced outside the state government.
Hinchliffe stating that work on the RNA main arena would need to commence next year to be ready for the 2025-26 cricket season and the 2026 commencement of the Gabba redevelopment.
Various proposals for alternative venues for AFL and cricket matches during the Gabba’s multi-year redevelopment have been considered, including the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre in Nathan, Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast, and the Lions’ training ground at Springfield.
Advocating for the RNA’s redevelopment, Adrian Schrinner asserted that upgrading the historic arena earlier makes sense, ensuring that significant economic benefits from hosting major AFL and cricket games aren’t lost during the Gabba’s reconstruction, however expressed that the state government should fund the project as its outside council jurisdiction.