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Canberra Stadium revamp put on hold

The ACT government is keen to bid for rugby league World Cup games in 2017 but Canberra Stadium officials say they will resist sinking any more money into the venue until a decision is made on the proposed $300 million roofed stadium.

Almost $5 million has been spent on Canberra Stadium over the past five years, keeping the venue up to industry standard.

The latest $2 million facelift to build new ticket booths, worth $1.4million, and re-lay the playing surface will be unveiled for Saturday's ACT Brumbies season-opener in the Super Rugby.

Despite the improvements, stadium general manager Neale Guthrie admitted the venue was still at the lower end of the scale compared to other stadiums around Australia.

Guthrie said no more major work would be done until there's a decision on a new roofed stadium.

The government is yet to finalise details for the proposed rectangular stadium with a roof, which has been flagged for the site of the Civic Pool by 2020.


The latest renovations to Canberra Stadium have been made in preparation for next year's Asian Cup soccer tournament, in which it will host six pool matches and a quarter-final.

Australia and New Zealand will host the rugby league World Cup in 2017. ACT Sport Minister Andrew Barr indicated he was keen to lure more international matches to Canberra after the sell-out success of the Anzac rugby league Test last year which injected $1.8 million into the capital's economy.

Barr is also hopeful Canberra will secure the Anzac Test next year to commemorate the Anzac Day centenary.

''It's early days but we are definitely keen to get rugby [league] World Cup matches in Canberra,'' Barr said.

''[But] for now, we are focused on making the Canberra matches in the Asian Cup and Cricket World Cup [at Manuka Oval] a success.''

The government secured GIO as a naming rights sponsor for Canberra Stadium, in a deal worth between $300,000 and $350,000 annually over the next four years. It's the first time the stadium has had a naming rights sponsor.

But after building new entries to Canberra Stadium and putting in new turf ahead of the Asian Cup next year, Guthrie hoped to limit future major work.

''We'll now go into minimum mode to keep things ticking along,'' Guthrie said.

''I don't see any need for major changes, and I'd be resisting making major changes until someone decides what they're going to do with a new stadium.

''All the major systems we've got will get us out to 2022, then I couldn't guarantee them. There has been a lot of investment over the past two or three years.

''It's a great stadium and I love it. But the standards of stadiums are changing, it's below that standard that is expected, but we keep it in good shape.''

Guthrie said the new $250,000 turf was ready for the Brumbies' season opener against the Queensland Reds on Saturday night.

The surface gets replaced every four years and new grass was trucked in as part of preparations to host games for the Asian Cup next year.

There will be eight Brumbies matches and 12 Raiders games in Canberra this year.

The new $1.4 million ticket booths at the west and east gates are designed to improve crowd flows in and out of the ground.

It's the first time new ticket booths have been installed since 1977.

The new entry points have public wireless internet to enable fans to buy tickets on their mobile phones if queues are too long, and a new CCTV system has been installed.

The Canberra Stadium upgrades have been completed in conjunction with a Manuka Oval overhaul as administrators of both venues seek high-profile sporting fixtures.