FIRST GRASS LAID AT NEW SUNCORP STADIUM

Premier Peter Beattie, Deputy Premier Terry Mackenroth and Works Minister Robert Schwarten superintended the laying of the first sods of turf on the new playing arena at the $280 Million Suncorp Stadium redevelopment today.

"The laying of the playing surface will take between seven and 10 days and will then bed down in time for the first game on June 1," said Mr Beattie.

"I know sports fans are looking forward to the first game between the Broncos and the Knights and the official opening on June 11 for the first State of Origin - and so am I.

"But as Premier I'm looking forward to the jobs and economic benefits which will flow from major international events which we will be able to attract to Queensland for the first time because of our investment.

"It is only because of our investment in this stadium that Queensland was able to win so many games in the Rugby World Cup that will bring thousands of big-spending fans to our restaurants, hotels and other businesses.

"This means more jobs for Queenslanders. "I also remind everyone that the new Suncorp Stadium has been paid for by the special new Major Facilities Fund and not general tax-payers.

"The multi-million dollar fund was created to finance major public sporting and cultural acilities and infrastructure in Queensland.

"Its money comes from a new levy which is applied to the most profitable hotel gaming machine venues.

"It means we have not had to use one cent of the sort of revenue which goes to areas such as health, education and police, despite the Opposition's false claims.
"Over the past two years we have worked to transform Suncorp Stadium into a world-class stadium which will rival any other playing arena in the world.

"This transformation is almost complete and in a little over a month players will run out on to this turf for the first match to start a new chapter in the history of this famous ground.

"The Legend Couch turf has been grown in secret at Thornlands over the past 16 weeks. "The company didn't want any Cockroaches sabotaging our turf so they asked us to keep the venue a secret while it has been grown.

"Legend Couch grass is ideal cover for football grounds because it is darker in colour and more durable.

"It won't be long now until Queenslanders can return to the 'Cauldron' and enjoy the spectacle of sport in one of the best stadiums in the world.

"More than 13,500 tonnes of material, including the old playing sub-surface was removed from the ground and a state-of-the-art irrigation system installed.
"The irrigation system comprises forty individual pop-up sprinklers connected to a water filtration system that disperses 124 litres of water each second.

"An innovative water storage system has also been installed which allows the rain water from the roof to be collected in two water tanks totalling 240,000 litres so it can be used to water the pitch.

"From today the grass is being transported to the ground by truck and laid on a prepared subbase of sand and gravel."