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RUGBY league legend Petero Civoniceva and Townsville’s sporting codes joined forces with state LNP members yesterday to secure increased funding for grassroots sports as the State Government considers a new stadium through the Strong Choices program.

Member for Thuringowa Sam Cox and Member for Townsville John Hathaway said some of the proceeds from the lease of the Townsville Port should also go towards improved lighting at Tony Ireland stadium and boosting local sporting clubs.

“As a sports-mad city we need more than just a new stadium for sports, concerts and monster trucks,” Mr Cox said.

“We have to up the ante which is why we’ve assembled all codes here today to stand as one.

“This is about investing in our kids, our city and our region.”

League legend Civoniceva said it was vital to support the sports stars of tomorrow.

“A world class stadium would be the jewel in the crown for Townsville, but providing facilities to help our kids enjoy their favourite sport and maybe blossom into a professional is essential,” Civoniceva said.

“All codes know that the juniors coming through are the key to their future.”

Mr Cox said Townsville was the number one city for sports in the regions, if not the whole state, on a per capita basis.

“Installing TV-quality lighting at Tony Ireland Stadium increases our chances of hosting national AFL games and cricket matches.

“There is room in this city for all the major codes and we can cater for grassroots sports all the way to major sporting events.”

Townsville MP John Hathaway said the LNP Government had heavily promoted sport through the Get in the Game programs, injecting $45 million into grassroots sport across the state.

“Townsville hosts many junior sporting carnivals not just because of our size and location but the sporting facilities we have built over the years and city’s ability to accommodate visitors,” Mr Hathaway said.

“Let’s work together to build on that and increase our chances for even more major events that will pump money back into Townsville’s economy.”