Final preparations are underway to transform Queensland Country Bank Stadium ahead of tomorrow night’s State of Origin opener.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said securing major events like Townsville’s State of Origin opener was an important part of the government’s economic recovery plan.
“State of Origin will be the most significant sporting event Townsville has ever seen,” she said.
“Major events inject millions of dollars into our economy and support local jobs.
“It’s not just about the footy. This event and the festival of footy we’ve built around the State of Origin opener will support our economic recovery efforts in Townsville.
“Virgin has added eight extra flights, hotels and Airbnbs are fully booked, up to 1000 staff have been rostered on to work at the stadium and tourism providers have had a huge response from fans keen to extend their stay and enjoy a holiday in North Queensland.”
Forty-eight trucks of supplies have been ordered for State of Origin one, including;
• 12,000 pies
• 750kg of North Queensland beef
• 4,000 kilograms of cheese
• 15,500 litres of beer
• More than 500 litres of Bundaberg rum
Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Townsville’s history-making State of Origin showed how important major events are to tourism.
“The Palaszczuk Government built Queensland Country Bank Stadium for sport and also the support it can deliver to Townsville’s tourism economy,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“Already we’ve seen accommodation sold out and entertainment precincts pop up, which is great news for tourism operators across the city.
“State of Origin is Townsville’s chance to show to the nation that when the North puts on a show the whole of Townsville gets behind it.
“The local reaction to Origin means this could be the first of many huge events to come for Townsville and Queensland Country Bank Stadium.”
Resources Minister and Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the event would be the biggest the stadium has ever hosted.
“Origin is the biggest thing Townsville has ever seen and the whole town has been working hard to make it an unforgettable event,” Mr Stewart said.
“That’s why we built the stadium, to bring major events to the city, which helps support jobs and the economy,” he said.
Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said having State of Origin in Townsville would give the city’s economy a major boost.
““This is going to be a fantastic event for fans, and of course the wider economy, which is likely to be boosted by $7 million thanks to flow-on benefits to the local bars, restaurants and hotels.”
Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said there was a real buzz in Townville ahead of Wednesday’s game.
“This is fantastic for Townsville and will help highlight the city on the national stage,” he said.
Queensland Country Bank Stadium Manager Tom Kimball said staff were working around the clock to pull off the event at short notice.
“This is real pinch yourself stuff and a dream come true for the venue and the passionate local fans and we’re counting down to kick-off,” Mr Kimball said.
“It’s been a fast and furious past few days preparing for the event, which requires 2,100 additional seats, 40 additional toilets, nearly a kilometre of fencing wrap, 10 pallets of merchandise, and three trucks of extra corporate furniture, but we’re ready to go!” he said.
Pandanus Catering venue manager Ben Wright said additional catering staff had been rostered on to help with demand.
“It’s a huge event with around 82 functions and 34 outlets to cater for, so we’ve got our full team on deck, including about 800 hospitality staff, 30 chefs and 40 cooks, all looking forward to this once in a lifetime event,” Mr Wright said.
Grounds Manager Bruce Fouracre said the field was in top condition ahead of the match.
“The field got a hammering in recent months with loads of content, but the planets aligned with the Cowboys getting a bye this weekend and training on their new field, so the turf has had a bit of a rest,” Mr Fouracre said.
“I’ve just been letting it sunbake, and with tomorrow forecast to be mostly sunny and 27 degrees, it’ll be ideal playing and viewing conditions for Origin!” he said.
Gates open at 6:30pm with live entertainment from 7:35pm and kick off at 8:10pm.
Media contact: Jack Harbour 0419 620 447