Women’s sport is racing ahead, writes Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk MP.

What a fantastic fortnight for women’s sport.

I was courtside for the Queensland Firebirds’ extraordinary Trans-Tasman Netball League netball final against the New South Wales Swifts at Boondall. It’s difficult to describe the excitement we all felt when Queensland took the lead for the first time in the final 15 seconds. And it was such a pleasure presenting the trophy to Captain Laura Geitz and her team.

The huge turnout for the tickertape parade through Brisbane’s CBD was a sign of the growing support for women’s sport in this state, and rightfully so.

So it was a real joy to announce that my government will provide the Firebirds with a home of their own for the first time. In this month’s budget we’ve committed $30 million to a new purpose-built facility at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC) at Nathan.

It will include a new eight-court indoor netball centre not only to provide the Firebirds with their own dedicated training facilities, but also to encourage the next generation of netballers.

I hope this sends a powerful message that we want to encourage more young women to take up a sport, while also helping to take netball to the next level in Queensland, where there are already more than 50,000 registered netballers.

Brisbane Festival

We are in for a treat when the Brisbane Festival gets underway in September.

More than 1400 local, national and international artists will gather for a dynamic program of music, theatre, dance, comedy and opera at venues across Brisbane from September 5-26.

More than 890 000 people attended a Brisbane Festival event last year, delivering $2.5 million in box office revenue and I expect 2015 to be another successful year.

I was at the program launch in the CBD, and would like to congratulate the Festival’s new artistic director David Berthold on a program which will cater for all tastes. There is a real

Congo theme to the program with four different shows representing a remarkable part of the world. Likewise, there’s much to enjoy in the Singapore Series of events across theatre, music and film.

Take a look at the full program at www.brisbanefestival.com.au