What Gympie needs to do to secure the big sport events
A DEARTH of multipurpose sporting facilities and accommodation is stopping Gympie from securing major sporting events like the recent Junior State Cup which injects millions of dollars a year into the Hervey Bay economy.
More than 100 junior touch players from the Gympie region made the annual pilgrimage to Hervey Bay last week to compete in the four day event which, over the next five years, will bring a $40 million windfall to the bay.
Despite this region’s strong sporting culture and army of volunteers, securing an event of a similar proportion continues to prove impossible, though Gympie has hosted smaller-scale versions such as state hockey championships in the past, and will host the Falcons v Seagulls round of the Intrust Super Cup at Albert Park next Sunday.
Local MP Tony Perrett said yesterday the region’s passion for sport and volunteering were not enough to secure something like the state cup.
The major inhibitor was a lack of supply of multipurpose sporting facilities and accommodation, Mr Perrett said.
“Gympie’s enthusiasm and people power is unfortunately not enough to attract significant sport carnivals.
“Facilities, a variety of venues and the availability of accommodation are often the deciding factor when sporting codes hold major carnivals in regional centres.
“Organisers are influenced by ‘bricks and mortar’ to accommodate players and supporters, as well as the actual sporting venues.
“While Gympie is very successful in attracting visitors to the region with our various festivals and cultural events, a lack of facilities is holding the region back as a desirable sporting destination.
“Sporting grounds are primarily under the control of local government which can also advocate to the State Government for funding to increase or improve facilities.”
Mr Perrett said he would be happy to work with local sporting clubs and Gympie Regional Council to advance and promote their facilities.
“Various state governments have offered funding programs to support infrastructure that enable greater participation in sport including installation of lighting, shades or irrigation, resurfacing or construction of amenities,” he said.
“While I am not aware of any applications from the Gympie Regional Council to the State Government for funding I encourage the GRC and local clubs to put in applications.”
“The Get Playing Places and Spaces program provides grants of up to $100,000 for new or upgraded sport and recreation infrastructure projects.”
“Round 5 has just opened and applications close on September 1,” Mr Perrett said.
Mayor Mick Curran said touch football had specific playing field site requirements that Gympie did not have adequate amounts of and that the Fraser Coast Council was under some heavy fire from its ratepayers because of the amount of money it spends maintaining its sporting fields.
He said the Gympie region had “secured similar level sporting events including the InTrust Super Rugby League Cup fixture which will be held on July 24”.
”The Gympie region has also hosted state level under-18s rugby league and masters hockey tournaments and similar level cricket matches in the past year,” Cr Curran said.
“The best endurance riders in the country will be in Imbil for four days from Thursday, for the National Endurance Riding Championships.
“Regional sporting bodies are the entities that lobby to get high level sporting events to specific areas.
“It should also be noted that Fraser Coast Council receives a substantial amount of criticism from ratepayers for the amount spent on maintaining their sports fields.”
Further information is available at: