Pollies to lobby NRL for Magpies’ funding

Geoff Helisma|

Page MP Kevin Hogan and Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis have said they will write (and or lobby) the National Rugby League (NRL) seeking $75,000 – reportedly offered at a meeting in April of 2016 – to augment the $1.3million funding of an upgrade of the Lower Clarence Magpies’s home ground in Yamba.

The 2016 meeting was attended by the NRL’s head of government and community relations, Jaymes Boland-Rudder, Country Rugby League (CRL) infrastructure & game development officer Graham Boland, Kevin Hogan, Clarence Valley Council (CVC) staff, councillors Karen Toms and Jim Simmons and former councillor Sue Hughes.

Mr Boland told the Independent that the ‘footy fund’, from which the $75,000 (on a dollar for dollar basis) could have been drawn, had been exhausted before the Magpies were in a position to apply.

Mr Boland said the fund had not been recreated, however, he said he “hoped” it would be, “because it was such a tremendous advantage when it was introduced”.

Mr Gulaptis said he and Mr Hogan were awaiting Clarence Valley Council “to come back with further details so we could support [the club’s] request” when they approach the NRL.

The bottom line is that cuts have been made to the infrastructure currently under construction.

“Budget cuts had to be made,” the Magpies’ Bruce Howard wrote to the MPs last week, “to the accepted concept design, with the removal of the timekeeper/video tower … and there is a genuine concern that the canteen may not be able to be effectively fitted out.”

Mr Howard coordinated the 2016 meeting and subsequent negotiations.

The works are being funded by an Australian Government $500,000 Community Sports Infrastructure grant, a $355,000 Stronger Country Communities grant from the NSW Government and $505,502 from Clarence Valley Council.