20 December 2020

Minister for Tourism Industry Development and Innovation and Minister for Sport
The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

North Queensland is the big winner with the WNBL playing its entire 2020 season in Townsville, Cairns and Mackay which wrapped up today with a thrilling home team Grand Final clash.

Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the WNBL season was secured by the Palaszczuk’s Government’s Far North Queensland Tourism Rescue Package.

“Congratulations to the Southside Flyers who take home the 2020 WNBL season trophy after a 17-point Grand Final win over home team The Townsville Fire – 99 to 82,” Mr Hinchliffe said

“While The Townsville Fire was disappointed in their hunt for Grand Final glory on the court this afternoon, they really have had a stunning turnaround season.  

“After a nail biting Grand Final in Townsville, the 2020 WNBL season has secured North Queensland’s place as one of Australia’s great basketball destinations.

“Major events like the WNBL are an important part of the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to continue rebuilding and growing the North’s economy by supporting local jobs.

“The WNBL played 59 games over six weeks in Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.

“We know the North loves basketball and having all eight teams based in the region for the duration of the compressed 2020 season has delivered significant economic benefit for local cities.”

Member for Townsville and Resources Minister Scott Stewart said it was predicted the WNBL generated around 12,000 visitor nights in North Queensland and delivered an economic boost of more than $3.3 million to support jobs.

“Accommodation providers, transport services, cafes, laundry services, restaurants and tourism businesses, to name a few, had an economic win from hosting the WNBL 2020 season and that means jobs for locals,” Mr Stewart said.

“The WNBL has been a great success in North Queensland for both spectators and local business.”

Member for Mundingburra Les Walker said the North had kept elite players safe.

“Not only did we keep players safe from COVID, our regional training facilities helped these elite athletes to stay in top playing condition, Mr Walker said.

“We know interstate fans have been following teams on social media and witnessed some great North Queensland tourism experiences that we hope will influence their next holiday decision.

“When the WNBL plays in the North, everybody has a win.”

Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter AM thanked North Queenslanders for their support.

“We’re all just so incredibly grateful to the Queensland Government, Townsville City Council and Cairns and Mackay Regional councils for wrapping their arms around us and giving us the opportunity to put on what has been a world-class competition,” Ms Rechter said.

“It’s been a sensational success for everybody and the way it has come together has been beyond our wildest dreams.

“The partnership we’ve had with Fox Sports and the ABC has taken the league to another level and we’ve been able to bring this amazing talent of women into the lounge rooms and mobile phones of everybody in Australia.

“The North Queensland fans have been fantastic - they’ve came out game after game.

“To see the way they’ve have embraced the sport, and the community that has welcomed us with open arms, has been wonderful.

“And, you’ve got a bunch of fans who want to come back to North Queensland.”.