David Pocock in Singapore. Photo: Andrew West PhotographyThe ACT government has deployed Brumbies star David Pocock as its secret weapon as part of its trade mission to Singapore.
Mr Pocock will join Treasurer and Sports Minister Andrew Barr in meetings designed to attract investment for Canberra’s proposed enclosed stadium on the edge of Lake Burley Griffin.
After a business breakfast hosted by ANZ Bank on Thursday, government representatives will spurik the City to the Lake urban planning project, light rail and a new national convention center.
Mr Barr will visit the new Singapore National Stadium later in the day, ahead of the Brumbies outing there in Saturday’s inaugural World Club 10s tournament.
The stadium sits at the centre of a new sports hub, and could serve as a guide for the future development in Canberra using a central location and public/private funding.
While Mr Pocock is still recovering from his second knee reconstruction, he’s making his first trip to Singapore as an ACT ambassador to help attract investment.
“It is great to be here and to see how much work goes into bringing business to Canberra,” he said.
“Andrew Barr is a great ambassador for the city and very passionate about what it has to offer.”
A state-of-the-art stadium would benefit all of Canberra’s sporting teams and fixtures and help the city’s love of sport grow, he said.
“You only have to look at cities with the best new stadiums to see the potential. The locations – and the roof – would improve things so much for everyone.”
Rubbing shoulders with Canberra and Singpore business and finance leaders, Mr Pocock laughed off a career in business after his playing days are over.
Mr Barr, who floated the idea of the Brumbies playing a pre-season trial in Singapore, said the high-profile ambassador was an ideal offsider during the trade delegration.
“The opportunity of having the Brumbies in market when we are undertaking a big Canberra promotion is a fantastic thing,” he said.
“It’s tremendous the level of engagement we’ve got from across the Canberra community, particularly in the business, sporting and tourism sectors for this particular trade mission.”
He has made no secret of the government’s need to find overseas investment if the Civic Stadium is to go ahead.
It would link to a light rail line and see spectators flow into Civic after events.
“[We’re looking at] how they’ve delivered the infrastructure, so it is a PPP there and every element of the operation seems to be best practice,” he said.
“Everything from maintenance, concession operations, the works, they’ve done it really quite well.
Mr Barr said the Singapore stadium was likely twice the size of its proposed Canberra cousin, but key lessons could be learned from procurement, management and funding.
The Brumbies played three trials in Darwin from 2011-13, as part of a deal with the Northern Territory government.
The breakfast was Mr Barr’s first event in Singapore, after arriving late on Wednesday night.
He is continuing discussions with investors and international airlines, seeking to build relationships for a broad roster of projects and businesses in Canberra.
He will visit the massive CommunicAsia conference on Thursday and host alumni of Australian National University.