8 October 2019

If ever there was momentum to justify building a new stadium in Civic, it is now

| Tim Gavel
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Raiders supporters at ANZ Stadium

The sea of green at the NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium. Photo: Tim Gavel.

On Sunday night, Sydney’s Olympic Park was a sea of green, an indication, if nothing else, that support for the Canberra Raiders is at an all-time high.

Estimates had the Raiders’ contingent in the crowd of 82,000 at 65 to 70 per cent compared to support for the Roosters.

The expectation is that crowds for Raiders home games next season will be higher in the wake of the team’s performance this year, as well as the greater profile of the players following the massive exposure in the build-up to the decider.

If ever there was momentum to secure funding from both the Commonwealth and private equity partners, as well as justifying ACT Government funds to help build a new indoor stadium in Civic, it should be now.

If you were looking to raise funding in China or Singapore for the stadium, this is the perfect storm.

Part of the internal decision-making could be whether it will be a government-funded and owned facility or part-government–part-privately funded and operated.

Over the past three weeks, the people of Canberra have demonstrated what this team means to the community and the role the Raiders play in our lives.

I concede part of the issue has been the Commonwealth’s decision-making process involving the future of the AIS precinct facilities, which includes Canberra Stadium. This is understandable as it effectively will be a decision about the role the AIS will play in Australian sport in the ensuing years.

If the land on which Canberra Stadium currently exists was essentially gifted to the ACT Government, funds could be raised through development on the site to assist in building the new stadium.

The ACT Government had placed a caveat on the construction of a new stadium, which was the requirement for Canberra to also have an A-League team to ensure there is use during the summer months outside the NRL and Super Rugby seasons.

If you are waiting for that to happen, it may never be built. Just ask those who have been campaigning for an A-League team in Canberra. Canberra’s participation in the W-League surely should factor into the equation.

The Raiders have shown that by connecting to the community, the community will support the team. It is why I believe there will be more support than ever before for the ACT Government to say yes, now is the time to bite the bullet and build the stadium.

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Capital Retro10:38 am 17 Oct 19

“I think what Canberra stadium lacks is that pre and post atmosphere”

Fair comment but this usually depends on access to bars and alcohol which was popular 50 years ago in densely populated suburbs near the sporting venues in Sydney and Melbourne. Public transport was another factor. I recall a local investor bought the Old Jamison Inn at Macquarie when the Raiders moved from Queanbeyan to what was then called Bruce Stadium. The idea was to provide a licensed venue with atmosphere for pre and post gatherings when the Raiders were playing. It didn’t happen. The area around where the proposed Civic stadium is has “died” and is bereft of pubs and bars so it won’t happen there either.

Capital Retro1:37 pm 11 Oct 19

“Build it and they will come”

The only people that will come will be the receivers and administrators.

Megan van der Velde9:55 pm 09 Oct 19

I agree – renovate and make it more user friendly to those who like sport – which by the way is not all of us. I do not agree with the sport is the glue. for society. There is many of us who do not agree with the money spent on unbelievable salaries for ‘heroes’ who do little often than pose poor examples to our young men. Like all things, this type of entertainment it has a place in our community but is not an activity where taxpayers money should be heavily invested in. Try putting more into rehab, disability, sick kids, medial research. Just my opinion.

petunia petal9:24 pm 09 Oct 19

Theres a short of specialists in Canberra, people are being forced to drive to Sydney to see specialists. Thats an absolute disgrace. Let’s fix the abomination that’s ACT health first before we turn to building billion dollar stadiums.

The government doesn’t employ specialists. So not sure how you think the ACT government can fix this particular issue which I will agree is real.

Any fix would need to come from the federal government by training new specialists through Uni etc or through targeted immigration to raise the number in the country which in turn will mean to remain competitive some would need to seek to come to markets like Canberra. But again that is not an issue that money or the local government has any control over.

petunia petal8:40 am 12 Oct 19

ahhh yes the ACT government does employ specialists through the public hospital system, Im not talking about the private system at all.

Furthermore, the shortage isn’t anything to do with the number of medical graduates (which has actually been increasing!) there are a lack of training placements in public hospitals (a state and territory issue) – enough doctors can’t train to be specialists in the numbers required because the positions don’t exist. Furthermore, pay enough for qualified specialists and they will come work at our hospitals. The ACT gov doesn’t want to do this.

How about spending money in improving the delivery of core services instead of building monuments to themselves and racking up huge debts in the process.

Capital Retro4:31 pm 09 Oct 19

If the enthusiasts want it they and they alone should pay for it. Most Canberrans will never use such a facility so why should we all be hit in the wallet for a not-needed stadium.

Millions have been spent on cricket/AFL only Manuka Oval and it still struggles to get a full house of paying spectators. The GIO stadium is very rarely filled to capacity and it is only suitable for rugby league, rugby union and soccer. The seats feel the same wherever they are and a new stadium won’t mean our teams in national competitions will perform any better..

michael quirk9:53 am 09 Oct 19

Yes.Fund it by cancelling the unnecessary and horrendously expensive light rail. It is a far higher priority.

To quote from the article “Over the past three weeks, the people of Canberra have demonstrated what this team means to the community and the role the Raiders play in our lives” … out of 52! And only when they’re wining. Bigger issues to address than this!

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