Harrup Park won't give up on funding battle
EEDEN Thompson is one of the many young cricketers who will be left heartbroken if Harrup Park doesn't get matched funding for its Great Barrier Reef Arena.
The project, which aims to bring the venue up to standard for the hosting and broadcast of major sporting events, was left off last week's State Budget in a devastating blow to the Mackay sporting community.
Just days before the Budget was handed down, two international women's cricket clashes between Sri Lanka and Australia, set to be played in Mackay, were relocated to Brisbane due to a lack of broadcasting facilities at Harrup Park.
For Eeden, 12, having those clashes played locally would have offered her a chance to watch the sportswomen she looks up to.
"We have to travel to capital cities to see them play, which can be a bit of an expense,” she said. "(Those matches) show you where you can be in the future if you put in that extra effort - it makes you think, 'I can be someone like that'.”
The Budget snub has left the Harrup Park Country Club scrambling, as $10m in Federal Government contribution allocated to the project requires matching State funding.
General manager Matt Cielens warned that funding would soon be lost if the State didn't add its share.
"That money will walk out the door if the State Government support isn't secured very soon,” he said.
Last week, Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert said talks were continuing between the government and Harrup Park after more information was requested on the project.
While one of the club's board members recently met with Mrs Gilbert, Mr Cielens said the State Government had failed to provide feedback on why the project missed out.
"We're really waiting on some sort of feedback from (the government) to understand how we can move forward from here,” he said.
"We will continue to promote the project and its benefits, but until we get some sort of guidance as to the path forward, we're really at the mercy of their feedback.
"The Mackay-Isaac-Whitsunday region cannot afford to lose Federal Government investment of $10 million in a project that will deliver economic dividends for decades to come.”
Harrup Park's battle for State funding has also gained the support of professional cricket club the Brisbane Heat.
Brisbane Heat general manager Andrew McShea said the requirements to run elite cricket were now significant.
"We're in there fighting as well, so any support we can lend the Mayor and Harrup Park, we've been doing that in the last couple of months,” Mr McShea said.
"We have been watching the development really closely over the past couple of months. The more upgrades this facility can get the better, not only for Brisbane Heat, but for cricket in Queensland.”
Mr Cielens said Harrup Park Country Club had contributed a high level of funding and resources to the arena's planning and concept development since 2017.
Mackay Regional Council is also making a significant contribution to developing amenities supporting the arena and neighbouring community venues.