Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, today joined NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon Graham Annesley MP, Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman, Mr John Grant, and ARLC Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, to officially open a new home for the game – Rugby League Central.
Funded through the Australian Government’s Infrastructure Employment Program with additional support from the NSW Government, Rugby League Central brings most of the game’s administration arms into a single location in one of the country’s most significant sporting precincts, the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust.
The unique design features an interactive Learning With League Centre that will become a focal point for national One Community and education projects, including the game’s ground-breaking Rugby League Reads initiative, ‘Dream Believe Achieve’ and ‘Eat Well, Play Well, Stay Well’, Indigenous programs as well as a training facility for administrators, coaches, referees and players.
The building will also soon include a history centre and museum that will provide a vibrant tribute to Rugby League’s century-long tradition of breathtaking excitement on the field and passionate community involvement.
“The investment from the Federal and State Governments in Rugby League Central is a vote of confidence in the game’s future and a recognition of the important role it plays in communities in many parts of the country,” Australian Rugby League Commission Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.
“This is an opportunity to bring many of the game’s administration areas in to one place, to strengthen community programs and to be clear about the significance of Rugby League in the country’s sporting landscape.
“We certainly thank the Federal and State Governments for their funding and support of this project and I’d like to personally thank Minister Albanese for the work he has put in to making this a reality.
“Thank you also to the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust for their support of this project.
“This is one of the most prestigious sporting precincts in the country. It has a great history with our game, it connects us with the CBD and airport and it reflects the confidence that Rugby League has in its future.
“It is a magnificent building and it is the result of a lot of hard work from people in our team and across the leagues.
“As much as sport isn’t about buildings or administrators, it is important to remember that this is also a highly professional business and the launch of both the Australian Rugby League Commission and Rugby League Central are a reflection of that fact.”
Rugby League Central was jointly funded by the Australian Government ($11.4 million), National Rugby League Limited ($7.5 million) and the NSW Government ($1.1 million).
Minister Albanese said that Rugby League Central was an important development for the sport, the community and the economy, with the project creating more than 400 construction and design jobs.
“The Australian Government is proud to make an important contribution which adds to the long history of Rugby League for players and the community,” Minister Albanese said.
Minister Annesley said: “On the back of an amazing first century of achievement, the official opening of Rugby League Central is symbolic of the plans the game has to build on its success in the future.
“I was privileged to be involved with this project from its formative plans and to now see it come to fruition is extremely satisfying.”
Designed by HBO+EMBT architects and constructed by Southern Cross Projects, the three-storey Rugby League Central has been built over 3,600m² on Sydney Cricket Ground Trust land.
At its heart is a Learning With League Centre that will change the way the game connects with students, fans and game participants across the country.
Consisting of two classrooms named ‘The Grandstand’ and ‘The Tryline’, the Learning With League Centre design embodies the feel of a Rugby League field, complete with line markings, green carpet and stadium-view murals, giving its visitors the chance to soak up the atmosphere of an innovative learning environment.
A full-time teacher plus a teacher’s aide will operate the Learning With League Centre, utilising the game’s One Community Ambassadors to bring inspiring messages to a far wider audience with a video conferencing service enabling the game to connect with up to 120 schools at a time.
The Learning With League Centre will also provide a valuable home for the training and education of volunteers, grass-roots administrators and coaches and match officials for first-aid, refereeing coaching and administration courses.