More Sunshine Coast Lightning fans than ever before will have the chance to cheer their team to victory next year thanks to a $7 million investment by the Palaszczuk Government to redevelop USC Stadium.
Deputy Premier and Sunshine Coast Lightning Patron Jackie Trad said the financial boost will enable the Club’s passionate supporters to watch their side take on Australia’s top teams at the boutique venue.
“This investment will see the Lightning’s home base at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) transform into an even more formidable fortress,” Ms Trad said.
Professor Greg Hill, Vice-chancellor of USC, said it was wonderful news for the community.
“This will be great for the community, providing a bigger multi-purpose stadium to accommodate a range of sporting and cultural events in a way the Coast has not previously had,” Mr Hill said.
Ms Trad added that all five home matches at USC Stadium sold out quickly this season so the addition of 1,300 extra seats will benefit the community.
“Queenslanders couldn’t be prouder of the Lightning’s amazing efforts following their 17-goal Grand Final triumph,” she said.
Lightning CEO, Danielle Smith welcomed the announcement and thanked Ms Trad for her unwavering support.
“This announcement will benefit not only our Club but the region’s sporting community as well,” Ms Smith said.
“Making Lightning matches accessible to the Coast community has always been a key focus and the Deputy Premier’s news will enable the Club’s loyal supporters to follow the side more closely.
“Ms Trad has been one of the Club’s most passionate fans in its foundation season and we thank her for her dedication and commitment to the only regional side in the national competition.”
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson also welcomed the announcement.
“This is terrific news for our Sunshine Coast Lightning Netball team, our fans and all stadium users,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“It will also provide a facility for other national sporting events adding to our exciting calendar of major events.
“Sport is an important part of our lifestyle and an expanded stadium will help ensure Sunshine Coast remains the premier events capital of regional Australia.”
Labor Candidate for Glass House Brent Hampstead said the venue’s indoor seating capacity will increase from 2,200 to at least 3,500 and additional amenities will be constructed, suitable for a larger crowd.
“To claim the championship in their first year is just amazing and this investment will make sure that there is a strong future for netball on the Coast,’ Mr Hampstead said.
Labor Candidate for Buderim Ken McKenzie said it was fantastic news for the Sunshine Coast Lightning.
“The Lightning were superb this season and I couldn’t be prouder to be part of the Labor team who will deliver this upgrade for the Sunshine Coast,” Mr McKenzie said.
Labor Candidate for Caloundra Jason Hunt said this investment was another demonstration of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to women’s sport in Queensland.
“Our Landmark $15 Million Female Facilities Fund will build dedicated women’s facilities for local sporting clubs around the state,” Mr Hunt said.
“And this investment adds to the $47 million we are investing in a world class new Netball Centre at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre.”
The $7 million injection is guaranteed funding and will expand the seating capacity at USC to provide a more suitable home venue for the Lightning and the 140 other sporting teams which utilise the venue.