- $800,000 upgrade of Morningside Panthers Football Club now complete
- New facilities aim to increase female sports participation
- The Coalition Government invested $250,000 towards the project
Cheers erupted today from Jack Esplen Oval, home of the Morningside Panthers, as the local community celebrated the opening of new facilities designed to attract more local women and girls to AFL.
Minister for Regional Development Fiona Nash said the new facilities would enable the club to deliver improved fitness programs for all members and additional change-room facilities for females.
“I aim to help build the kinds of communities our children and grandchildren want to either stay in or come back to, and great sporting facilities helps achieve that,” Minister Nash said.
“The AFLW competition has kicked into gear across Australia over the past 12 months and we’ve seen huge interest from the public.”
Senator Brandis officially opened the new facility and said it was a great addition for the people of Morningside.
“We’re committed to investing in regional Queensland and building stronger communities,” Senator Brandis said.
“This new facility has created local jobs, boosted the economy and provided the Morningside Panthers with state-of-the-art all weather facilities, which will grow AFL in the community.”
Queensland Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni said the upgraded facilities would ensure the club can attract and accommodate a growing number of members.
“Queensland has always been a powerhouse for football, and with nine state premierships since 1965 the Morningside Panthers are a formidable team,” Mr de Brenni said.
“It’s fantastic to see the club transform its facilities to support more women and girls getting on the field to get fit, have fun, and make friends – and maybe one day pursue a career as an elite athlete.”
Member for Bulimba and Club Patron Di Farmer said she was delighted to see the Panthers complete the building works they had worked for and planned for so long.
“I cannot praise the club enough for having the vision and the personal commitment to make this happen, despite the many challenges,” Ms Farmer said.
“As the State Member and Patron for a number of years, I’ve been so pleased to facilitate financial support from the Queensland Government over a number of grants, to help the club get to this point.”
Lord Mayor of Brisbane City Council Graham Quirk said he was proud to support the Morningside Panthers Club by providing $100,000 under the Community Sports Club Grants Program to upgrade its facilities.
“Our grassroots sporting clubs offer fantastic lifestyle and leisure opportunities for residents, which encourage people to get involved in their local community and enjoy our city’s vibrant lifestyle,” Cr Quirk said.
“Council works closely with local communities to ensure clubs such as the Morningside Panthers are able to improve their facilities and continue offering valued leisure opportunities into the future.
“Council is a proud supporter of local sporting clubs, and I congratulate the Morningside Panthers on their continued work to improve the quality of life for local residents.”
AFL Queensland CEO Dean Warren said “AFL Queensland’s has a clear vision – that Australian Football is the catalyst for healthy and vibrant communities, achieves community outcomes in a uniquely Australian way, and is a way of life for all Queensland communities”.
“The Morningside Australia Football Club has been a vital part of their local community for many years, providing a welcoming, safe and enjoyable environment for the entire community to actively participate in our great game.
“The further development of quality fit for purpose facilities will position the Club well to capitalise on the games continued rapid growth in both men and women’s Brisbane,” said Mr Warren.
Councillor for Morningside Shayne Sutton paid tribute to the Morningside AFC executive for their hard work to deliver the Stage 2 works, which completes their facility masterplan.
“I congratulate all of the hard working members of the Morningside AFC who made the delivery of this facility a reality. It has been my great pleasure to work alongside them from concept to delivery over the past seven years.
“The Stage 2 works have not only provide some of the best AFL sporting facilities in Brisbane, they have also secured the long term financial viability of the Panthers for many years to come. It has been a tremendous effort by all involved,” Cr Sutton said.
This project was jointly funded with the Coalition Government contributing $250,000, the Queensland Government $100,000, the Brisbane City Council $100,000, AFL Queensland $100,000, and Morningside AFL Club contributing $250,000.