31 July 2023
With Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield Central already the home ground of the Brisbane Lions’ AFLW team, upgrading the purpose-built AFL stadium to accommodate the men’s team would be around half the cost of retrofitting the heritage RNA site.
Brighton Homes Arena is an $80 million world class AFL stadium located in Springfield Central, Ipswich and is the only venue in Australia that provides elite training and recovery facilities for both professional men’s and women’s AFL.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said Brighton Homes Arena is the natural choice to host the Brisbane Lions’ AFL team during the Gabba reconstruction.
“While I admire Lord Mayor’s enthusiastic pitch to attempt to retrofit the RNA, Ipswich is already home to the best AFL venue in Queensland right now,” Mayor Harding said.
“Brighton Homes Arena is a world class AFL stadium which was built with expansion already in mind. The cost to expand Brighton Homes Arena is around half of what it would take to try and make the RNA work.
“Hosting the Brisbane Lions needs more than just a field, it takes warm up and recovery facilities, state-of-the-art broadcast technology and a high quality, even playing surface. These are already available at Brighton Homes Arena.
“Of course, one of the biggest selling points for Brighton Homes Arena is it’s already the home and headquarters of the Brisbane Lions. It comes with a home ground advantage built in.
“There will be no need for the Brisbane Lions to step aside each August to make way for the EKKA as they are preparing for their run to the AFL finals.”
Brighton Homes Arena was jointly funding by the Federal and State governments, Brisbane Lions and AFL, and Ipswich City Council, and celebrated its opening in December by hosting the 2022 AFLW Grand Final to a sell-out crowd.
Mayor Harding said this discussion is not just about AFL, but where the Queensland Government’s investment and 2032 Games legacies would deliver the biggest return for taxpayers.
“The Queensland Government has been steadfast in its commitment to ensure it spreads the benefits of the 2032 Games beyond Brisbane,” Mayor Harding said.
“Pardon the pun but Brisbane already has the lion’s share of investment and economic benefits from the 2032 Games.
“Brisbane has 18 of the 37 venues on the 2032 Games masterplan, as well as the International Broadcast Centre, Media Press Centre and the Olympic and Paralympic Athletes Village. Ipswich has just one.
“This is a perfect opportunity to start spreading the 2032 Games’ benefits more broadly, and leaving a legacy that can be enjoyed by communities outside of Brisbane.
“Brighton Homes Arena represents a wonderful legacy opportunity for the Queensland Government to invest in the future of women’s sport.
“The AFLW is growing exponentially, so any expansion of Brighton Homes Arena will be used long after the 2032 Games have been and gone.
“The Brisbane Lions have already taken advantage of the opportunity Ipswich’s rapid population growth offers the AFL, in what has always been NRL heartland. Our community has responded with open arms.
“We hope the Queensland Government undertakes its own assessment and sees the opportunity to bring this amazing legacy opportunity to Ipswich.”
Brighton Homes Arena is the Brisbane Lion’s AFLW home ground and its corporate headquarters, and currently has a 10,000 seat capacity with room set aside for expansion. It is adjacent to Orion Shopping Centre and Springfield Central Train Station.
An expansion of Brighton Homes Arena would complement council’s $300 million investment in transforming the Ipswich CBD into a premier dining and entertainment precinct, due to be completed in 2024.