Statement to: Wendouree Indoor Sports Group & Affiliated Members
Re: Ballarat Sports & Events Centre (BSEC)
Wendouree Indoor Sports Group, along with Basketball Ballarat has been lobbying since November 2006 for federal funding for improved indoor sports and events facilities for Ballarat and Western Victoria at the Ballarat Sports & Events Centre.
Recently we have been very close to success in Round 1 and 2 of the National Stronger Regions Fund Grants and received very positive feedback personally from Senator Scott Ryan on our $10M Rd 2 application and he suggested improvements for our Round 3 bid which we have taken note of and actioned.
At the state level the project had bi partisan support leading into the 2014 State Election. The Victorian Government honoured its commitment of $9M to the BSEC project after the election.
The BSEC project also has the endorsement of all six Central Highlands Councils as a major transformational regional project and the local Council has also made a $5M financial commitment to the BSEC project.
In the lead up to this weekend’s election local member Catherine King and the Federal Labor Party made a $5M financial commitment to the project if elected.
We have worked tirelessly to ensure that we promote and prove the case for this regional facility based on merit and need. We have always treated all political parties respectfully and fairly in how we present our information, media opportunities and in explaining the detail of the project to a broad range of members from both the State and Federal Government and Opposition.
We truly believe that we have remained neutral in every way to allow the project to stand on its own merit and not become the subject of political argument. Everyone we speak with acknowledges the worth and value of the project but we cannot seem to move beyond that to a formal commitment from all parties at the Federal level.
We have made clear that, despite our excellent events reputation we face the very real risk of losing the successful events we have hosted for many years and have no prospect of attracting new events to the region.
The extra $10M that the BSEC project requires from the Federal Government will allow 2 extra courts for extra programs and short term population growth, showcourt stadia seating for 3,000, strength & conditioning facilities and meeting and function rooms for community use and key partners such as the University of the 3rd Age.
This funding will provide Western Victoria with an Indoor Sports & Events venue to compete with those in Geelong, Bendigo, Werribee and Frankston and keep Ballarat and the Western region as one of the premier events hosts in regional Australia. This new facility will retain $4.7M in existing annual economic benefit and allow for growth of another $3.2M in economic benefit per annum for the region.
Post the Federal Election we expect the announcement on the successful applicants for Round 3 National Stronger Regions Funding will be announced by mid-August. We can do no more to present our urgent, desperate and justified need for this project.
The $5M from Labor’s election commitment will mean a competitive regional sports & events centre for the region.
A total of $10M will fully complete our vision for the Ballarat Sports & Event Centre.