9 October, 2020
Palaszczuk Government secures entire WNBL season for North Queensland
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the entire 2020 Women’s National Basketball League Season will be played exclusively in North Queensland with more than 60 matches including finals to be staged across Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.
The WNBL Season is the first major event secured from the government’s $3 million Far North Queensland Tourism Rescue Package and is made possible via cooperative partnerships with Cairns Regional Council, Townsville City Council and Mackay Regional Council.
The Premier said the WNBL Season will be held across a six week period in November and December this year, providing a massive economic boost to one of our hardest hit regions.
“Major events are an important part of my Government’s strategy to continue rebuilding and growing our economy and to support local jobs,” she said.
“The tourism and events sectors throughout our state have done it tough this year.
“Major sporting events pump millions of dollars into local businesses. Securing the WNBL is a great win for the whole of North Queensland and a dream come true for basketball fans in the region.”
The WNBL is expected to generate close to 12,000 visitor nights for North Queensland, pumping $3.3 million into the North Queensland economy.
With 20 WNBL matches slated for the Cairns Pop Up Arena and four teams based in Cairns across the six-week season, the Cairns and Barrier Reef region will net a good share of this with around 4,000 visitor bed nights.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones said Queensland has proven how important events can be to the economic recovery of our state.
“Great local events like the recent Horn fight in Townsville - which was also secured by the government - generate millions of dollars for local businesses that have struggled throughout this pandemic,” the Minister said.
“Through our major boost to events funding, we’re working hard to secure more events like this to support tourism businesses to rebuild and recover faster.”
Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter AM said that everyone connected with the league was excited and grateful to be coming to Queensland.
“The support from the Queensland Government ensures we are able to deliver the season in 2020, providing a stage for Australia’s best established and emerging talent to contest the 41st edition of Australia’s longest-running elite women’s sporting competition, the Chemist Warehouse WNBL,” she said.
“On behalf of Basketball Australia, the WNBL clubs, players, coaches, officials, members and fans, I would like to thank Premier Palaszczuk and Minister Jones for their visionary support of women’s basketball in Australia.”
Basketball Australia Head of Women in Basketball Lauren Jackson AO urged as many North Queenslanders as possible to get out and support the league.
“The WNBL is one of the world’s best elite basketball leagues and we have such depth in talent within Australian women’s basketball,” she said.
“The 2020 season plays a pivotal role in preparing the Australian Opals for two important global tournaments and I want to thank all parties for the selfless and big picture approach in wanting to ensure the season goes ahead.”