24 May 2023

ACT Government sees new stadium as part of wider Bruce precinct in pitch to Feds

| Ian Bushnell
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Canberra Stadium

Canberra Stadium is reaching the end of its useful life. Photo: Region.

The future of a new flagship stadium in the ACT lies in Bruce, linked to a rejuvenated Australian Institute of Sport precinct and other public institutions, including the new northside hospital, according to an ACT Government submission to a federal parliamentary inquiry.

Essentially a pitch to the Commonwealth for greater collaboration on ACT infrastructure needs, the submission acknowledges the current stadium is reaching the end of its useful life and does not meet contemporary design standards for a facility of its importance and use.

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But the government still sees Bruce as the best location for a new facility despite the campaign from its main users, the Canberra Raiders and the ACT Brumbies and their national bodies, the NRL and Rugby Australia, for a stadium in the city.

The submission does not mention alternative sites, but Chief Minister Andrew Barr has been consistent about his view that the proposed Civic pool site is too small, a city project poses major design issues and it would cost too much.

The submission states a renovated or rebuilt stadium at Bruce will be part of a wider ecosystem of facilities there.

“There is a significant opportunity for the ACT and Australian governments to partner to revitalise the AIS precinct,” it states.

“This project could see upgrade and refurbishment of the AIS existing elite sporting facilities, a significantly renovated or rebuilt Canberra Stadium, as well as mixed-use development supporting new housing and business outcomes.

“The site’s proximity to the new northside hospital, the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology’s Bruce campus mean there are opportunities in terms of innovation, education, health and health sciences, and productivity.”

This suggests the ACT Government believes this route is the best way to leverage the necessary Commonwealth support for a stadium project costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

The submission comes ahead of an expected announcement from the ACT Government and the AIS before the ACT Budget is handed down on 27 June.

The ACT Government has come under sustained pressure to build a new stadium, preferably in the city.

The NRL this month claimed the dated stadium at Bruce meant Canberra would miss out on big games and international fixtures, prompting Mr Barr to fire back that it should put its money where its mouth is.

The ACT Government also made a bid for Commonwealth funding to boost the capacity of Manuka Oval, the city’s main AFL and cricket ground.

“Sustained investment by the ACT Government over the past decade has sought to make Manuka Oval the best boutique venue in Australia. But there is still potential to be unlocked,” the submission states.

“For example, redevelopment of the eastern grandstand and upgrading spectator amenities would help realise this ambition.”

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The submission notes that historically, the ACT has not received the level of federal investment into community-level infrastructure as other jurisdictions.

It adds that the ACT Government is the sole government investor in the ‘Home of Football’ project at Throsby, while similar projects in Western Australia, NSW and Victoria have received significant federal funding.

Greater Commonwealth input will further realise the sporting potential of Canberra, as well as the associated economic benefits, the submission states.

The Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories, chaired by Member for Canberra Alicia Payne, is inquiring into ways to foster and promote the significance of Australia’s national capital.

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Daniel O'CONNELL12:57 pm 25 May 23

Perhaps there is a catholic church conveniently situated nearby that they can resume to build the stadium at.

Better off removing all the public housing in Braddon. Fix up crime, drug, alcohol and unemployment problems at the same time!

“but Chief Minister Andrew Barr has been consistent about his view that the proposed Civic pool site is too small, a city project poses major design issues and it would cost too much.”

Consistent since when? 5 minutes ago?

For the last decade the ACT government has put out plans with the stadium in the city.

It’s now only “consistently” saying Bruce because it’s realised the government finances are in a perilous state and with the massive further drain from the next stages of the wasteful Light Rail project, they’ve decided the city stadium needs the chop.

Also funny to see them cap in hand begging for more federal funding when if they had robust business cases for these projects, the money would already have been provided.

What they really want is some extra pork on the side, although condering the Feds penchant of doing just that, maybe we’ll be in luck.

Chewy, the idea of building a RL stadium in civic is now thankfully dead. It was a ridiculous idea and the canberra people had their say. There’s still pockets of the press who keep pushing it to nausium

Animal Lover,
I must have missed the local plebiscite on the city stadium, when exactly did we have our say? From what I’ve seen, the city stadium was clearly a preferred location from those who actually want a new stadium, noting that a stadium anywhere is going to cost a bomb.

Also strange to see anyone call it a “ridiculous idea”, when most new stadiums are getting built in more central areas to facilitate entertainment and transport hubs. A stadium in a more central area has obvious benefits far over what would ever be seen from the site at Bruce.

Didn’t Andrew Barr take a Civic stadium to the last two elections?

Katy Gallagher also had it in her ‘city to the lake’ plans.

TruthinMedia5:34 am 25 May 23

Hey Sam Oak – you can spend your excess cash on whatever you like whilst single income families, the disabled, the elderly, the homeless and veterans can’t access adequate food, shelter and especially health services. Just don’t expect hand outs in the form of unnecessary government expenditure that should instead go to the needy. You can always drive your beemer to Sydney to flash your cash if the local entertainment isn’t to your refined tastes.

You are talking about a small minority of the ACT population there. Most retirees I know have accumulated vast saving and super during their working life. Homeless and disabled are supported by the Federal government not the territory government. Veterans have both welfare support, self-funded super balances and government pensions. Can’t blame the majority for the lack of planning and inability to manage finances of the few.

As a taxpayer my money is going to the ACT government and the feds to pay for the welfare of the poor, yes I should have a say on what my money gets spent on. I would like more entertainment facilities. Until those whingers start earning enough to fund themselves they should shut up and be grateful.

Improvements to Manuka oval should be the number one priority – especially the building of a grand-stand on the eastern side of the oval. This ground is used 12 months a year not like Bruce stadium. Better facilities and the removal of that awful old MCG cricket scoreboard are other items.

Quite soon it will be used for 12 months a year for at least 30 games between Raiders, Brumbies and A-League.
Much more than the ‘year round’ use of 9 games at Manuka.

These sporting corporations with their ridiculously well-paid executives should be solely responsible for funding their own infrastructure. I’m fed up with these people squeezing the public purse. Also, as I understand it, very few people actually attend live footy these days.

You understand it wrong then.

This is a good idea from the ACT Government at last. A modular city is better than one where everything is concentrated in the centre. Strong distributed town centres and a separate sporting precinct, each with hospitality venues, parking and surrounding high/medium density housing options, will give a sustainable update to the traditional Canberra Y plan, with all the benefits it had.

Only problem is for the people on the southdide Bruce is difficult to get to

TruthinMedia4:30 pm 24 May 23

Can governments please apply family economics to their decision making. Any sensible family prioritises its expenditure on shelter, food, health and saving for the future. Entertainment is near the bottom the list. Australian governments such as Tasmania and the ACT with this focus on stadiums at the behest of sporting bodies selling rights for hundreds of millions to broadcasters and giving their senior administrators and key players millions in salary is putting family priorities at the bottom of the pile. I have been fortunate enough to have been employed every day of my life and paid taxes so that essential services are funded and the disadvantaged looked after. Make these sporting bodies ask the broadcasters for more money if they want to build their own stadiums.

Most salaried dual income families have all the basic essentials covered. We live in a developed country. We don’t need to walk a kilometer to extract water from wells or farm our own food. We need entertainment and other sophisticated consumer goods and services to spend our high incomes relative to the rest of the world. Yes I’m sure there are some that struggle but unemployment is 3% in the ACT. The MAJORITY need something to spend their hard earned on.

I wish they would stop saying ‘the new northern hospital’, a new name on the front doesn’t make it ‘new’.

Jemima Jones9:31 pm 24 May 23

No, but $1B new build does.

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