Test star Usman Khawaja fears Queensland Cricket will go “broke” without state government assistance when forced to leave the Gabba and contribute a sizeable chunk of the $137 million needed for the redevelopment of the Brisbane Showgrounds.
The Queensland government has proposed that Test cricket, the Queensland Bulls, the Brisbane Heat and the AFL’s Lions to play matches at a revamped Showgrounds arena when the Gabba is out of action for at least four years while being redeveloped for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.
However, the government only wants to pay $47.5 million of the total $137 million cost to redevelop the showgrounds arena, and wants the Brisbane City Council, the RNA, Queensland Cricket and the Lions to contribute.
It’s a request that doesn’t sit well with Queensland and Heat captain Khawaja, who would rather cricket be played a further developed Allan Border Field rather than the showgrounds.
“These are pretty serious issues that Queensland Cricket still needs to discuss with the state government because from what I know, there was a handshake agreement that the state government would help with the cost that was Queensland Cricket will incur,” Khawaja said.
“Cricket Queensland, like Cricket Australia, is a not-for-profit organisation. We’re here to make money.
“I’m really worried at the moment because it’s going to be a big burden on Queensland Cricket (not playing at the Gabba) and it’s a little disappointing to hear how state government is going about it at the moment, not offering any help, which seems totally bizarre to me.
“It’s about $45 million we’ll be out of pocket over the four years … by not playing at the Gabba.
“If that’s the case, then I don’t know what’s going to happen – cricket will be broke in three, four years time.”
Khawaja said Queensland Cricket wouldn’t have “any ownership” of the showgrounds.
“I think they’re asking for us and Brisbane Lions to put about $100 million into that, and we don’t even own the complex,” he said.
“I don’t think it will be sustainable for Queensland Cricket … (but) first and foremost is actually trying to figure out how to get the $45 million.”