PRESS RELEASE 25.02.2005


New World Class Beach Volleyball Facility in Queensland

Queensland, Australia - February 25, 2005 - Playing Beach Volleyball at an elite level in Queensland has been made more achievable thanks to the State Government's new $2 million Beach Volleyball facility, Premier Peter Beattie said today.

"The aim of this new facility is to attract additional Australian and new international Volleyball tournaments to Queensland, a state that is synonymous with the beach, sun and sand," Mr Beattie said.

"Building a world-class facility is the first step towards reaching our goals to make Queensland the future home of Beach Volleyball in Australia, and to foster the development of the sport at all levels of the game."

Mr Beattie said the eight-court facility, including four courts that can be converted into two international competition-sized, show courts, players change rooms and kiosk, is located at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, Nathan - the Smart State's Centre of Sporting Excellence, and the home of the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS).

"Beach volleyball has been growing in popularity since Australia's success at the Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Games," he said.

"The QAS already has the best facilities of any state-based academy or institute of sport in Australia but these additional facilities will enhance the QAS's beach volleyball program and further lift the profile of the sport in Queensland."

Mr. Beattie said the venue would provide an international-standard training facility for the QAS Beach Volleyball Program and the Queensland members of the National Beach Volleyball Squad.

"Queensland's best junior and senior players will make the Beach Volleyball Facility home and train alongside Olympian Nicole Sanderson and Triple Olympian and dual Olympic Medalist Natalie Cook," he said.

"It will give our rising athletes the best chance for a successful career in beach volleyball."

Mr Beattie said Natalie Cook's company, Sandstorm, had been appointed as the commercial manager of the venue through a competitive tender process.

"Sandstorm will be responsible for the day-to-day management of the venue and will work in partnership with the Queensland Volleyball Association and the Queensland Government to improve the profile of the sport in Australia.

"Currently a partnership between the Queensland Volleyball Association, the Queensland Government, QAS, Griffith University, Sports and Recreation Queensland, Sandstorm and Queensland Events Corporation are working together to bid for the national beach volleyball program.

"Other opportunities such as to host national and international events such as the Federation International Volleyball (FIVB) World Tour events are being explored.

Mr Beattie said the venue would also be used for QAS sand-based endurance and fitness training for QAS athletes and potentially for Queensland's other sports athletes including the Brisbane Lions, Brisbane Broncos and Queensland Bulls.

"We have the facility, we have the sporting expertise and we have the climate for outdoor sports - what better place to play beach volleyball or train in the sand than in Queensland," Mr Beattie said.

The $2 million Beach Volleyball Facility is the second major Queensland Government investment in QSAC's Centre of Sporting Excellence, since the $10 million refurbishment and relocation of the new QAS headquarters in early 2004.

A regular program of junior and senior public competitions as well as coaching programs for all ages will be held at the venue. For more information visit www.sandstorm.com.au
By Grant Robertson