By HENRY MORABANG
PAPUA New Guinea will have a new stadium ready before 2015 in support for the National Rugby League Bid and the South Pacific Games with a concept similar to the Skilled Park Stadium in Queensland, it was announced earlier this week.
Sports Minister Philemon Embel was all smiles when he was joined by State Enterprises Minister Arthur Somare, National Gaming Control Board (NGCB) chairman Leonard Louma and his chief executive officer Simon Sanagke on a brief tour of the Skilled Park, the home of the Gold Coast Titans.
The Skilled Park was built by the Queensland government and leased out to the Gold Coast Titans at a cost of A$120 million.
Both ministers have agreed to work together towards a bilateral understanding with the Queensland government for a similar concept to be built here in Port Moresby.
Somare, who is also responsible for the gaming industry, said it was now Embel’s task to come up with certain bilateral agreements with other Government line agencies and with the support of the NGCB, the Skilled Park concept would become a reality before 2015 South Pacific Games.
“While Embel continues our bid for entry into NRL, the stadium will also be the preparation for the South Pacific Games and if our bid is successful, we will by then have a world class stadium ready for our PNG team,” Somare said.
“It will not be a stadium of rugby league only, but for soccer and athletics with a similar concept as stadiums in Queensland which are built and owned by the government.”
Embel said he was elated that he was getting support from Somare and the NGCB and has wasted no time to make this dream become a reality for Papua New Guinea.
“The NRL Bid was done at a bilateral level between our Prime Minister Sir Michael Somare and his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd and that is why all government agencies must work together to fulfil this bilateral agreement,” Embel said.
“As this is a government-to-government decision, we must incorporate such a concept of the Queensland stadium through our bilateral cooperation with the support of our line departments and government agency. We will definitely have a world class stadium in preparation for the South Pacific Games and for our success at the NRL Bid.
“I am a very proud man to get the support of many of my fellow ministers and, especially with Somare’s support and the NGCB, this important project will be off the ground and ready for the 2015 South Pacific Games.”
For such a stadium to be built in PNG, the Government will need at least K250 million for the whole works which will include car parks and the public transport system.