Great Barrier Reef Arena promo

Premier commits $10m to build long-awaited Mackay arena

HARRUP Park's Great Barrier Reef Arena upgrade has received a $10 million commitment from the State Government.

The project was included in a list of 12 initiatives as part of the government's Mackay Whitsunday Regional Recovery Action Plan, announced today.

The arena has already received $10 million in Federal Government funding, but needed matched funding from the state to go ahead.

An economic assessment found the proposed expanded arena facilities could deliver more than 54,000 extra visitor nights per annum, $31.6 million in regional economic output each year of operation and support 90 new ongoing jobs.

A similar number of jobs and $43.2 million in regional economic output was also expected to be generated during construction.

The Daily Mercury has campaigned over the past 18 months to get the remaining funding over the line. 

"This plan builds on our immediate commitment to keeping the region moving through extra support for businesses, workers and households," Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.

"This includes $10 million for the upgrade of Harrup Park Great Barrier Reef Arena and also $1 million for a business case towards the state's first Future Food BioHub in Mackay."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Picture: NCA NewsWire / Richard Gosling
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk Picture: NCA NewsWire / Richard Gosling


Construction on the arena upgrade is expected to start in early 2021.

The $24 million project will include a permanent memorial for the late former Mackay MP Tim Mulherin, who was a strong advocate for the redevelopment.  

Following his retirement from political life, Mr Mulherin served on the Harrup Park Country Club board for four years, giving his time to promote community interests through the club.  

ARENA PROJECT: An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef Arena. Picture: Cox Architecture
ARENA PROJECT: An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef Arena. Picture: Cox Architecture

In recent years, he devoted countless hours to planning the development of Great Barrier Reef Arena, a project extremely close to his heart.

The entire community precinct will be named in Mr Mulherin's honour and will feature artwork celebrating key elements of his life. 

ARENA PROJECT: An artist's impression of the Great Barrier Reef Arena. Picture: Cox Architecture
ARENA PROJECT: An artist's impression of the Great Barrier Reef Arena. Picture: Cox Architecture Cox Architecture

Harrup Park Country Club president Terry Doolan said the premier's announcement marked a great day for Mackay and the region.

"This is wonderful news and we are delighted to thank the Premier, the State member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert MP and the State Government for their support for this vital project for our city, region and Central Queensland," Mr Doolan said.

"From its inception, the Great Barrier Reef Arena project has been all about providing Mackay and region with an international standard venue and precinct that will deliver on many fronts for the whole community.

"It will provide a stage for major sporting, entertainment and cultural events and a highly activated precinct for our community to enjoy throughout the year."

Harrup Park chief executive Matt Cielens said the arena upgrade would also support business and create new jobs and investment.

"We are already working closely with tourism authorities, Mackay Regional Council, AFL and Cricket to ensure that we capitalise on all the brilliant opportunities the Great Barrier Reef Arena will offer for our community over years and decades to come," Mr Cielens said.

"We look forward to working in partnership with the Queensland Government and Federal Government to deliver and maximise the value of this fantastic asset for Mackay and our region."

Ms Palaszczuk confirmed the project was "fully funded under my government".  

ARENA PROJECT: An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef Arena's green spaces. Picture: Cox Architecture
ARENA PROJECT: An aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef Arena's green spaces. Picture: Cox Architecture Cox Architecture

Mackay / Whitsunday Regional Recovery Action Plan initiatives include:

-$10 million to deliver priority environment projects in the state's Great Barrier Reef catchments in partnership with local government (up to 200 nature-based jobs)

-$10 million for the Great Barrier Reef Arena (Harrup Park) redevelopment

-TAFE upgrades - establish student-industry collaborative learning centres Bowen TAFE ($200,000) and Cannonvale TAFE ($250,000)

-$5.5 million supporting Mackay-Whitsunday small businesses - 618 grants of up to $10 000

-$11 million Mackay-Whitsunday councils - 34 maintenance and minor infrastructure projects (supporting 249 jobs)

More stories:

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Qld election 2020: Jobs and crime to dominate campaign

Results: The state election issues that matter to Mackay

-$9.4 million to social housing in Mackay-Whitsunday

-$1 million Future Food BioHub

-$150 million Walkerston Bypass, following opening of the $497m Mackay Ring Road

-$42 million (20/21) of $120.4m Bruce Highway (Mackay - Proserpine)

-$10 million Bowen Development Road (Collinsville - Belyando Crossing)

-$4 million (of $13m Proserpine Entertainment Centre)

-$2.9 million Bowen Neighbourhood Centre


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