|The re-development of the Gabba sports ground in Brisbane will cost about $50 million and be completed before the start of the AFL season next year.
Treasurer and Sports Minister Terry Mackenroth told State Parliament yesterday the cost to build a new stand to fill a gap in the stadium would be $40 million.
Mr Mackenroth also revealed the Government had decided to spend a further $10 million on five other projects at the Gabba to improve facilities for football and cricket fans.
Plans to build the new stand were announced in February but it wasn't until the tender process was complete that the cost was known.
The new stadium, on which construction will begin next month, is being funded by the major facilities levy which is collected from the Queensland hotels which take the most gaming revenue.
When completed, the 5000-seat stand will take the Gabba's capacity to 42,000.
The $10 million worth of extra projects is being funded by a new impost on the sales of gaming machine authorities.
Mr Mackenroth said Watpac, which was also a joint contractor on Suncorp Stadium, had been appointed managing contractor.
"The contractors will work closely with Gabba tenants - cricket and AFL - to ensure the impact on games and activities at the ground is minimised during construction," he said.
"Work will be staged and the lower tier of the grandstand is expected to be complete and available for the first AFL match next year, favourable weather and site conditions permitting.
"This will add an additional few hundred seats to the first Lions game which, with their growing popularity, will be a bonus for the start of the 2005 footy season.
"The five additional capital upgrades will improve the overall operations and experience of Gabba patrons and demonstrate the State Government's commitment to building better sporting venues."
The five additional projects include the installation of an automated entry system, like at Suncorp and other major stadiums, which allows fans to use a barcode on their ticket to pass through entry gates.
While a final decision on the automated system is yet to be made, some systems allow people to buy and print out their tickets online. Unwanted tickets can be refunded and the seat can be re-sold by deleting one barcode from the system and replacing it with another.
The Gabba re-development will involve the stadium entrances being re-built, the cricket change rooms being improved and the public address system overhauled.
New food courts for the upper concourse level of the stadium will form the final project in the additional projects.
The projects were decided on after representations were made to the Government by the Lions, cricketers and the Gabba's service providers.