A line up of high profile business and sporting leaders were announced today as the members of the region’s sporting and business group. They have been charged with the task of developing a new industry for Cairns and fast tracking sporting infrastructure projects.
The formation of the group has been spearheaded by Federal Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch.
“The group has been established to further develop a comprehensive plan for the development of a broad range of national/international standard sporting infrastructure for our city, in an effort to fast track the development of an international sports tourism and sports medicine industry. This I would expect will provide Cairns with a platform to become the Tropical Campus for the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS),
“The group is made up of prominent business/sporting leaders who already have a proven track record and commitment to our region and given the importance of maintaining an apolitical position while I am happy to provide advice or direction as requested I will not be seeking a formal position on the group,” Warren Entsch said.
Mr John O’Brien, the former owner of the Cairns Taipans and a prominent business identity in our region for a long time has ‘gifted’ a substantial tropical sports business plan which he had personally funded, to this group which will be used as the basis for developing the new sporting infrastructure initiative. Because of his generous contribution he has been invited to be the Patron of the group and has graciously accepted.
The members of the group are:
- CHAIR ? Rob Weeden General Manager Shangri la Hotel (tourism leader and organiser of Rugby Union and Swimming)
- PATRON John O’Brien (former owner of Cairns Taipans and business identity, now CEO Cricket Queensland)
- Ron Tong President FNQ Swimming and Owner of Tong Sing
- Simon Wild Managing Director, Skytrans & Chairman, Airlines PNG (business leader and sponsor of many local sporting groups)
- Gary Young General Manager, AFL Cairns
- Margot Richardson President Cairns Rugby and Owner of Business Mapping Solutions
- Nick Trompf General Manager, The Cairns Post
- Murray Bain General Manager, Cairns Hockey
- John Moore CEO Northern Pride
- Brett Moller FNQ Regional Policy Chair, Chamber of Commerce & Industry Queensland’s
- Charles Woodward Managing Director, CaPTA Group (business and tourism leader and major sponsor of local sports)
- Wendy Morris Port Bajool (business identity and supporter/organiser of outrigging events and adventure sporting events)
The three key objectives of the group will be:
- Collating and prioritising submissions from community sporting groups in an effort to identify current shortfalls and opportunities to develop and expand sporting infrastructure over a broad range of international sporting codes
- Create a list of ‘shovel?ready’ projects that can commence in earnest to get construction activity in the town ticking once again
- Complete a business and infrastructure plan to support the development of a national and international sports tourism and sports medicine industry in Far North Queensland. On completion this document can be used to work in conjunction with Regional Development Australia (RDA) to secure funding commitments at both State and Federal Government levels.
Mr Entsch says the group are enthusiastic and ready to get started with set timeframes outlined.
“I have received overwhelming enthusiasm from the broad community for the establishment of this group. As with all projects it is imperative that we set timeframes and therefore after the inaugural meeting the group will commence work in earnest with a deadline of six months. I would hope that a final plan identifying projects and a rough costing could be finalised by the end of June 2011.
It is time for our community to start to think big again, it is time for us to start to dream. We should not limit our concept through cost parameters, but be prepared to put in a bid for an all?inclusive project that will make us the northern sporting capital of Australia,” Mr Entsch said.
The groups aim is not to compete with Cairns Regional Council or Tourism Tropical North Queensland, but work in collaboration with them.
“TTNQ needs to be complimented for its initiatives in identifying and bidding for national and international sporting events and Cairns Regional Council is continuing to work on a final concept for the Cairns Performing Arts & Cultural Precinct. The role of this group will be to work in parallel with both TTNQ and CRC in developing exclusively the sporting infrastructure component of the overall plan,” Mr Entsch said.
The individuals willing to donate their time and energy to the region have been commended by Mr Entsch.
“I also would like to take this opportunity to thank you each person in advance for being prepared to give up their valuable time for the greater good of our region. Together we can achieve great things,” he said.
The inaugural meeting of the group is expected to take place prior to Christmas.