A new stadium and entertainment precinct at the North Ipswich Reserve is a priority for Ipswich City Council.
A new stadium and entertainment precinct at the North Ipswich Reserve is a priority for Ipswich City Council.

New Ipswich stadium still priority as NRL bid supercharged

ALTHOUGH a future NRL side representing Ipswich won't play their fixtures in the city, delivering a new local stadium to serve as a home base remains a priority for Ipswich City Council.

The newly formed Brisbane Jets will starting playing in the NRL in 2023 if the supercharged bid is successful and the league grants them a licence.

They would play their games at Suncorp Stadium.

Nick Livermore from the Brisbane Bombers and Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson have joined forces to bid for the NRL’s 17th licence as the Brisbane Jets.
Nick Livermore from the Brisbane Bombers and Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson have joined forces to bid for the NRL’s 17th licence as the Brisbane Jets.

The council has funded and will soon finalise the options assessment for the North Ipswich Reserve stadium upgrade, which is the second stage of the State Government's business case framework.

It wouldn't just serve as an integral new facility for the potential new NRL franchise but the future of the Ipswich Jets and other elite sports in the region.

Mayor Teresa Harding said the council has been lobbying the State and Federal Governments for funding towards the detailed business case, which would enable the project to reach shovel-ready status.

The $220 million North Ipswich Sport and Entertainment Precinct options assessment has considered two options for a potential new facility.

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It will either meet a minimum stadium for NRL and A-League matches with a 12,000 capacity or a stadium in the mould of the Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville which would be capable of seating 20,000.

"As a declared regionally significant project, the North Ipswich Reserve stadium remains a priority for the city," Cr Harding said.

"The stadium will provide our growing city with a venue to host national-level sporting events as well as international music and entertainment events.

"This project will stimulate a competitive and productive local economy, providing a national platform to assist in investment attraction and provide economic resilience through the generation of entertainment and sporting expenditure.

Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson.
Ipswich Jets chairman Steve Johnson.

"The project will transform the North Ipswich Reserve and the surrounding area into an asset for our city and the south east Queensland region more broadly.

"The revitalisation of North Ipswich Reserve into a sporting and entertainment precinct anchored around a boutique rectangular stadium is integral to meeting community demand for national sporting team expansion here in Ipswich."

Cr Harding said she wasn't concerned the new franchise did not include Ipswich in its name.

"The Brisbane Jets will be based in Ipswich," she said.

"The Jets have a long history here in Ipswich and the Jets name and brand is synonymous with our city."

Cr Harding said the Ipswich community has some of the highest engagement rates per capita in organised sport in Queensland with more than 60 sport and recreational facilities catering to more than 150 clubs and organisations.

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"Ipswich is Queensland's sporting heartland and the potential for our city to host an NRL team is incredibly exciting," she said.

"We are Queensland's fastest growing region and our large and growing rugby league supporter base makes Ipswich the natural choice.

"Council is committed to working with the newly formed Brisbane Jets bid team and stakeholders to ensure Ipswich is the next home of a Queensland NRL team.

"With our city set to be home to over 500,000 people by 2041, large scale social infrastructure will bring our city in line with comparable cities to enable local engagement with major sport and recreation opportunities."

Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.