The wonderful success of the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast has demonstrated the value that high-profile sport delivers to the community through a variety of beneficial health and social impacts – not just outcomes on the sporting stage. Few could argue the inspiration provided by some of the best athletes in the world over the past few weeks has had a profound influence on motivating all segments of the community to unite together and participate.
The Government invested heavily in bringing the Games to the Gold Coast to derive the long-term economic and social benefits that will last long into the future by way of legacy. There is now a great opportunity for the momentum generated by the Games to be carried forward by local sporting codes and organisations that provide similar community inspiration and healthy lifestyle benefits on a constant basis.
The work the Gold Coast Titans undertake in the local community delivers invaluable benefits and social impacts that would otherwise be the responsibility of Government agencies. The Titans undertake this work at our own cost as good corporate citizens because we see the difference it makes in the lives of people every day. The community initiatives that the Titans support are across multiple important areas including education, indigenous programs, and grass roots development.
It is in this context the Titans would like to publicly address a number of inaccuracies and false assertions currently circulating with regards to hiring arrangements at Cbus Super Stadium.
At the outset it is important to note that this club, its owners, and its management enjoy an excellent working relationship with the Queensland Government, and we have always been very cognisant of the government’s responsibility to prudently manage tax-payer funds.
As such, the Titans have never sought Government assistance to underwrite the operating costs of our business as has been insinuated. Our only objective throughout discussions with government stretching over the past 3½ years, has been to reach a long-term agreement on fair commercial terms similar to those in place for NRL clubs hiring Government owned venues in other states.
The difference between Government charges currently imposed on the Titans and those in place for very similar facilities in NSW is approaching $500k per annum. The inevitable consequence of this type of inequality is that further upward pressure is placed on ticket prices for our loyal members and fans who are also taxpayers contributing to the Government for the provision of sporting facilities and other essential infrastructure.
The Sports Ministers reported public comments are disappointing and are indifferent to the value and contribution of sport to local communities and the overall fabric of society. The inference that only winning clubs have a right to survive goes against every accepted national trait we try to instil in young Australians encouraging participation, sportsmanship, and continuously striving to improve regardless of results.
The Gold Coast Titans currently run the lowest cost and most efficient operation in the NRL competition, yet the club still operates at a loss. A large component of that loss is the difference between the stadium charges imposed on the Titans and the charges imposed on other interstate clubs. Having recently transitioned from NRL ownership, the structure of the clubs’ new private ownership strictly requires any operating surplus to be reinvested in the club, the community, and the further development of the game in our region.
The Titans seek no recognition or benefit from Government for meeting our social responsibilities in the spirit of carrying on the legacy of the Commonwealth Games. We simply seek fair commercial hiring terms for our stadium comparable to Government owned venues in other states.