FUTURE LNP GOVERNMENT TO BID FOR A NORTH QUEENSLAND ORIGIN
- A future LNP Government will put in a formal bid for a State of Origin match in Townsville
- Bid will include proposal for a week-long North Queensland Origin festival
- Bid will include request that both Qld and NSW teams hold training camps in Mackay and Cairns in the lead-up
A future Tim Nicholls-led Liberal National Party Government will launch a formal bid to get a State of Origin fixture to North Queensland in 2020 or 2021.
LNP Leader Tim Nicholls said rugby league-mad North Queensland not only deserved an Origin encounter but the economic benefits a game in the North would bring.
“My pledge today is to throw the resources of Government behind a North Queensland State of Origin bid,” Mr Nicholls said.
“We want to bring this game to the North in 2020 or 2021 at the new Townsville Stadium aka the Johnathan Thurston Arena.
“Within the first 100 days of a Nicholls LNP Government, we will instruct Tourism and Events Queensland to begin negotiations on North Queensland’s behalf.
“We know without Government backing and support, bringing an Origin to North Queensland would be a tall order as we compete with Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.”
Mr Nicholls said it would not just be the game a future LNP Government would try to bring to the North but also a week-long festival celebrating a rich and proud rugby league nursery – North Queensland.
“As part of the bid process, we will request both the Blues and the Maroons be based in other Northern rugby league strongholds such as Mackay and Cairns in the lead-up to the game,” he said.
“We will also look to undertake a rugby league-themed festival to run in North Queensland throughout the week so tourists won’t just travel for the game and leave but stay for longer and spend more.
“The exposure gained across North Queensland would do wonders for tourism and business.
“All the build-up of Origin would give North Queensland unmatched exposure, another reason why getting the teams based in Mackay and Cairns in the lead-up is so vital.”
Mr Nicholls said around 10 million Australian viewers watched the State of Origin series, making it the largest sporting event in the country.
“The eyes of Australia would be on the North for this game and more than 100 countries around the world will be tuning in,” he said.
“North Queenslanders deserve this game as their loyalty to rugby league is unquestioned – sending matches to Melbourne or Perth is a kick in the guts for all Queenslanders. I believe it is essential to take the game to where the most loyal fans and stakeholders are.
“North Queensland is a really important area for rugby league. It has produced the likes of Gorden Tallis, Matt Bowen and Billy Slater and an Origin match in Townsville would be wonderful.”