The proposed Paralympic Centre of Excellence, announced by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Wednesday, would be a visionary leap towards changing the landscape for Paralympic sport in Australia.
The facility at the University of Queensland in Brisbane has the potential to revitalise Australia’s elite Para-athlete numbers and improve access to sport for people with a disability.
“The standard of Paralympic competition globally is constantly rising and this is the kind of investment in our future that’s necessary if we are to maintain our proud record of success at the Games,” Paralympics Australia President Jock O’Callaghan said.
“But it’s not just about the elite level. We need to give many more people with a disability access to sport so they can gain the many benefits that come from participation.
“The University of Queensland share our ambitions, which will anchor our planned partnership for many years ahead. The opportunities it provides are limitless.”
We want to build a Paralympic Centre of Excellence at UQ St Lucia campus. pic.twitter.com/DMaQLAZcs6— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) March 21, 2023
The Queensland Government said construction of the Centre of Excellence was expected to begin in 2025-26 and be completed in 2027-28. It would cater for 20 Paralympic sports, employ 22 fulltime staff and possibly provide a long-term home for Paralympics Australia.
The Queensland Government and the University of Queensland will provide $44 million each towards the Centre of Excellence. Queensland is asking the Federal Government for matching support.
“In our Strategic Plan which we released early this month, we outlined the action required to address the obstacles that people with a disability face accessing sport and the benefits this action could deliver to the whole country,” O’Callaghan said.
“Presently, one in four of the 4.3 million Australians with a disability plays sport, yet three in four wants to.
“The Queensland Government has shown that the Brisbane 2032 Paralympics can deliver tangible outcomes before the Games and a meaningful legacy that will live on for generations.”
“The proposed development would produce Paralympic champions and develop world-leading sporting expertise. It would also provide a range of opportunities to improve the lives of Australians living with a disability.
“I congratulate and thank the Palaszczuk Government for today’s announcement and I now look forward to progressing this world-leading plan with the Federal Government.”
By: Paralympics Australia
Posted: 22 March 2023