BILL’S CBD STA­DIUM PLEDGE

Townsville Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - AN­THONY GAL­LOWAY an­thony. gal­loway@ news. com. au

OP­PO­SI­TION Leader Bill Shorten will make a fund­ing com­mit­ment to build a sta­dium in Townsville’s CBD at the next fed­eral elec­tion.

Vis­it­ing Townsville State High School to talk up La­bor’s ed­u­ca­tion poli­cies yesterday, Mr Shorten said he was yet to fi­nalise his po­si­tion but con­firmed it would be “a bet­ter deal than what has ever been of­fered be­fore by Lib­eral or La­bor”.

It comes af­ter the LNP’s Mem­ber for Herbert, Ewen Jones, ruled out the Ab­bott Gov­ern­ment fund­ing the sta­dium, in­sist­ing it was a State Gov­ern­ment re­spon­si­bil­ity.

The State Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted $ 100 mil­lion to­wards the pro­ject but is call­ing on the Com­mon­wealth to match its com­mit­ment.

“It’s a real shame Mr Ab­bott’s LNP rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Townsville finds it too hard to fight for Townsville,” Mr Shorten said. “Of course there’s a role for state gov­ern­ments but there is a role for the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment and a Shorten La­bor gov­ern­ment is com­mit­ted not just to south­east Queens­land but to mak­ing sure we have in­fra­struc­ture and jobs for Townsville.”

Mr Jones yesterday in­sisted his Gov­ern­ment wouldn’t be mak­ing a sta­dium com­mit­ment at the next elec­tion.

That is de­spite Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott re­fer­ring the state’s re­quest for fund­ing to deputy War­ren Truss to in­ves­ti­gate pro­ject fund­ing op­tions.

“I’m not con­tra­dict­ing the Prime Min­is­ter at all. Fund­ing sta­di­ums in Queens­land al­ways has been the province of the State Gov­ern­ment,” Mr Jones said.

Mr Jones said his Gov­ern­ment would con­sider fund­ing part of an ad­join­ing con­ven­tion cen­tre but doubted it would fund all of the pro­ject. “I can’t see the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment fund­ing all of any­thing. What­ever we get has to be driven by coun­cil,” he said.

Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill said Mr Jones shouldn’t rule out any­thing un­til he saw the State Gov­ern­ment’s busi­ness case, to be com­pleted later this year.

“I stress to ev­ery­one that the Prime Min­is­ter is in­ter­ested to see some of the pro­pos­als and I would call on ev­ery­one not to rule any­thing in or out, and to be pa­tient to wait to see how the busi­ness case shapes up,” she said.

Townsville En­ter­prise chief ex­ec­u­tive Pa­tri­cia O’Cal­laghan wel­comed Mr Shorten’s com­ments and said she was still con­fi­dent the Ab­bott Gov­ern­ment would make a com­mit­ment be­fore the elec­tion.

BET­TER DEAL: Op­po­si­tion Leader Bill Shorten an­nounc­ing plans to fund a sta­dium ( left) in Townsville yesterday and ( inset top left) with La­bor can­di­date for Herbert Cathy O’Toole and Townsville State High School stu­dents Rj Bal­lada, 14, and Brycen Pa­tron, 13.

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