Shadow Minister for Sport and Recreation Curtis Pitt is calling on the Newman Government to up its game to ensure Brisbane doesn’t miss out on staging a Test next year.
“There are serious questions about the negotiating ability of Campbell Newman and his Ministers when it comes to sport,” he said.
“We have seen this lack of commitment and support translate into Queensland getting only one State of Origin match this year when it should have had two.
“And now it looks as if there is a real risk that the Gabba will be overlooked for the four-Test series against India in 2014.
“The Newman administration has a shameful track record of not actively supporting major sports events, despite the tremendous boost to the economy they bring.
“The Newman Government’s Trade Mission to India last year should’ve included discussions around securing a game for the India Test series, so in this case it looks as if the Premier, Treasurer and Tourism Minister have been asleep.”
Mr Pitt said a Test against India would not only be a huge boost to Brisbane’s hotels and hospitality industry, but the coverage beamed to India and that country’s fans in America would promote the city to an audience of millions.
“I’m not suggesting the state bid ‘at any cost’ but the bar is set by the efforts of our competitors – in this case other states,” he said.
“In order to compete with rival states, the Queensland Government needs to aggressively bid for events – that’s the reality of event attraction when it comes to sports tourism.
Queensland Cricket chairman Jim Holding, quoted in an article in The Courier Mail, said he was considering asking the state government for help in attracting an Indian Test.
“The Government needs to think about what it wants to do regarding hosting major sporting events,” he said.
In contrast he pointed to South Australia which had invested heavily to redevelop the Adelaide Oval.
“Adelaide has outdrawn us and they have a proactive government which has spent an awful lot of money on redeveloping the Adelaide Oval,” he said.
Mr Pitt said the last year Brisbane didn’t stage a Test was 1977.
“The pulling power of Test matches against the major nations is obvious, but The Gabba’s 42,000 capacity now places it well down the rankings of Australia’s cricket venues,” he said.
“Tickets for the First Ashes Test – to be staged at The Gabba from November 21 – went on sale on July 17 and the first three days have been virtually sold out already.
“Brisbane will be crammed with big spending fans from England as well as supporters from out of state.
But while Queensland’s cricket fans will feel let down that the stadium has been selected to host only three low-level games in the 2015 Cricket World Cup, I have no doubt they will quite rightly support these matches.”