CQ NRL Bid builds momentum
THE CQ NRL Bid chief executive was doing backflips after receiving written confirmation on Friday from Premier Anna Bligh that the Queensland Government would build a stadium if the bid was successful.
“We always had the assurance about a stadium, but this letter is the key,” Keeffe said.
“(NRL boss) Gallop told us to get written confirmation and now we've got that.
“The bid now has real traction and is no longer just a dream – it is happening.
“When we combine the Premier's written comment with the QR National sponsorship, we are building the compelling argument for our own NRL club in CQ.”
In her letter, dated September 17, Ms Bligh said she was “delighted” at the QR National agreement to be a principal sponsor – a deal which is understood to be worth seven figures.
Ms Bligh was in Rockhampton on Friday, where she formally opened the city's historic School of Arts renovation.
She had lunch at Motel 98 – at her table was Motel 98 owner Grant Cassidy, Member for Rockhampton Robert Schwarten and media representatives.
It was no coincidence that CQ NRL Bid chairman Geoff Murphy also joined them and the CQ bid dominated the conversation.
At the same time, just a stone's throw away, State Opposition Leader John-Paul Langbroek was dining at The Edge restaurant.
In stark contrast, when the CQ NRL Bid and Bligh's stadium commitment were mentioned, Mr Langbroek would only joke – “I'm just a poor dentist” – before quickly changing the topic of conversation.
With the following for Mr Langbroek's party growing and Labor on the nose in many quarters, that could be a future stumbling block for the bid.
However Keeffe didn't seem overly fazed on Friday, responding: “He'll believe.”
The date for NRL boss David Gallop's visit to Bundaberg has been confirmed as Tuesday, November 23.
Gallop will complete a tour of the Central Queensland region with stop-offs in Rockhampton, Emerald and Mackay.