Pork and some to flow to News Corp

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp will score a handy benefit from federal pork-barrelling with the two major parties promising multimillion-dollar upgrades for facilities associated with the company's majority-owned and profitable Brisbane Broncos rugby league team.

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp will score a handy benefit from federal pork-barrelling with the two major parties promising multimillion-dollar upgrades for facilities associated with the company's majority-owned and profitable Brisbane Broncos rugby league team.

News Corp, via subsidiary Nationwide News, owns about 68 per cent of the publicly listed Brisbane Broncos, which owns and operates the team. Last year the company made a profit of about $2 million and paid dividends worth $1.47 million to Nationwide News.

Yet both Labor and the Coalition this week made promises worth a total of $8 million to boost sports fields and training facilities the club will use, including a high-performance centre at the Broncos headquarters in the inner Brisbane suburb of Red Hill.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott promised that the Coalition if elected would provide $5 million to the Broncos Leagues Club Ltd to "kick-start the revitalisation of the Broncos sporting precinct" at the Red Hill facility.

The revitalisation would include new training facilities for the Broncos and that the commitment would specifically support the construction of a high-performance training centre and sports medical centre, according to Mr Abbott's press statement.

The announcement coincided with Queensland's Liberal National Party Premier Campbell Newman promising the club would get exclusive access to land at the adjacent "under-utilised" Ithaca TAFE college in Red Hill.

The funding announcements came at a handy time for the Broncos rugby club as its 2011-12 annual report noted the increasing demands of training and management of elite sporting teams had rendered its "football department building, gym and training fields inadequate".

Mr Abbott's media advisers emphasised that the direct recipient of the funding was to be the Broncos Leagues Club Ltd, which is a separate entity from the rugby club.

However, the Leagues Club's annual report describes its principal activity as supporting the game of rugby league specifically through the Brisbane Broncos, and that its long-term objective is to provide facilities and amenities that improve the financial and future viability of the rugby club.

Last financial year the Leagues Club provided $450,000 sponsorship to the club and received rent from the Broncos rugby club of about $235,688 and revenue of $144,287 from catering.

Land around the Bronco's Red Hill site and the adjacent TAFE campus represents some prime inner-city real estate where renovated colonial homes in leafy streets fetch well over $1 million, as well as being a handy five-minute drive to Brisbane's "Cauldron" of Suncorp Stadium in the neighbouring suburb of Milton.

Meanwhile, the Labor candidate for the seat of Forde, former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, this week announced a $3 million donation to help complete a $9 million training upgrade at the Broncos Junior Rugby League academy at Logan, south of Brisbane. The upgrade is set to feature three top-quality rugby league fields, and a purpose-built gym and fitness facility.

A spokesman for Mr Beattie said the money was to be given to Logan City Council and would be used to build facilities owned by the council and leased to the Broncos.

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