CAIRNS Regional Council’s planned $21m redevelopment of the Tobruk Memorial Pool into an international-standard aquatic centre will be boosted by a $4.8 million commitment from the Federal Government, Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch and Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer Steve Ciobo announced today.
“We are a nation of high-achievers in sport, so it’s vital that our region has every opportunity to find our next sporting champions,” Mr Entsch said.
“Cairns is perfectly positioned to be the fourth tropical sports conditioning city in the world after Hong Kong, Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.
“While all three tropical cities in Northern Australia ? Darwin, Townsville and Cairns ? can benefit from this, Cairns has already established three of the four essential criteria for this industry.
“Firstly, it has a world class regional international airport that is already servicing key destinations around the world.
“Secondly, James Cook University ? through the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine ? has already established a faculty of tropical sports medicine in Cairns.
“Thirdly, our greatest strength is our capacity to be able to accommodate large numbers of visitors in the summer months with over 26,000 hotel rooms, highly-skilled hospitality staff, and restaurants and ancillary services through our established tourism industry.
“What we need to do now is to continue to develop sporting infrastructure and today’s commitment towards a world-class aquatic centre for Cairns will help to make that happen.”
Murray Bain, the General Manager of Cairns Hockey, Gary Young, the President of AFL Cairns, and Ron Tong, the President of Far North Queensland Regional Swimming Association, joined in the announcement.
“Murray, Gary and Ron are three of the original members of the Cairns Business and Sporting Group (CSBG), which was established in 2010 for the purpose of developing this vision of a new sporting industry in Cairns,” Mr Entsch explained. “I’d like to thank them for their very strong support on this journey and I look forward to continuing to work with them.
“I also particularly congratulate Cairns Regional Council for its leadership role in the pool redevelopment.”
The refurbished pool precinct will include:
· An international-standard pool;
· Appropriate shade cover; and
· Further upgrades to amenities.
Mr Ciobo, himself a keen swimmer at the Tobruk Pool in his childhood, commended Mr Entsch and the CBSG team on securing the $4.8m and described their plan as a “bold vision”.
“If you look around the world, a lot of sporting events are here one day and gone the next,” Mr Ciobo said. “The real genius behind this concept is that it’s about much more than just bringing extra visitors to the region.
“It’s about the creation of intellectual property in tropical sports conditioning, utilising existing tourism infrastructure, collaborating with James Cook University and maximising the benefits of having more people coming through in the off season.
“I think it’s a good natural fit for Cairns and is further evidence of the Australian Government’s commitment to Far North Queensland and Northern Australia more broadly.”
The redevelopment is expected to start in the first half of 2015, with construction due to be completed in 2016.
“With the Centenary of Anzac commemorations underway from 2014 to 2018, the restoration of a facility that is also a memorial – albeit for a WWII event – is a lasting and significant way to honour our diggers,” Mr Entsch ended.