Wendouree Sports & Events Centre Expansion Funding Committed

Leading National Coaches, State Sporting Executives and local sports administrators have all lined up to support the Government’s commitment of $15 million to develop a new major indoor sports facility at the Ballarat Major Events Precinct.

Head Coach of the Australian Women’s Basketball team, the Opals, and former Ballarat Miners coach Brendan Joyce hailed the announcement as a great step forward for the sport in regional Victoria.

Joyce, who bought the Opals to Ballarat last year as part of the teams preparation for this year’s World Championship in Turkey, hailed the announcement and said that “last year’s camp was an integral part of the teams preparation and that this new facility with a show court capacity for 3000 plus spectators would make the venue attractive for national and international level camps and competition in the future”.

“Ballarat should now also be looking towards hosting Women’s National Basketball League games in this venue” Joyce added.

“Having coached for Ballarat and visited with the Opals I know that Ballarat has the expertise and professionalism to attract and stage major sports events at the venue which will not only benefit the sport but bring extra sports tourism opportunities to the region” Joyce said.

Michelle Plane, Chief Executive Officer of Netball Victoria added her support to the Government’s commitment “The development of high quality netball facilities at Wendouree, including a new indoor court complex and show court, will undoubtedly help the continued growth and strength of netball across Victoria.”

“With these facilities we can bring state and national league games, world class clinics, and opportunities for people at all levels to participate in netball.”

“Ballarat is a major regional centre and has a very strong netball community and culture, producing quality athletes, coaches and officials.”

The Australian Men’s Basketball team Head Coach and former Ballarat Miners Assistant Coach Andrej Lemanis also congratulated Ballarat on gaining support for the proposed expansion of the WSEC Indoor Sports Centre.

“Ballarat has for many years attracted some of the best coaches in the country and this new facility will continue to encourage such coaches to come to Ballarat to work in these first class facilities”.

“The new venue will also provide a great facility in regional Australia for National Basketball League and National level teams to consider for training camps and games in the future”.

Basketball Ballarat CEO Peter Eddy expressed his thanks to the Government for recognising the desperate needs of the 7,250 plus members of Ballarat Indoor Sports Community by making a commitment to the WSEC expansion.

Mr Eddy stated “Not only will it allow us to meet the immediate and short term needs of local participants; but it will also provide Ballarat and the region with a facility that befits its status as a major Sports Events region”.

“Expanding this facility to the same capacity as the State Basketball Centre at Wantirna will give Ballarat a great opportunity to continue as the benchmark for national junior Championships into the future. Ballarat risked losing these national events if it did not expand to comply with the new national tender requirements” Eddy said.

Basketball Victoria CEO, Nick Honey, stated, “This is an outstanding result for Ballarat and Victorian basketball.

Ballarat is the leading regional association in the state. They have always planned their business for the future. This development will now enable them to expand their reach to support the smaller associations in their region.”

The Association has a long and proud history as a regional basketball power and this funding commitment is an appropriate recognition of this. It will enable Ballarat to continue to service and develop their current and future basketballers, as well as attract and retain national and international level basketball events.

Basketball Victoria also expresses its appreciation to the Government for its support with the funding of major developments such as this one.”

Wendouree Netball Association’s Competition Manager, Jordan O’Keefe hailed the announcement as a significant step forward for the development of junior and senior netball competitions in Wendouree and the west of Ballarat.

“In recent years we have been unable to cope with the increased demand for court space at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre (WSEC)”.

“The WSEC operates to serve the needs of two main sports, basketball and netball and such is the popularity of both that there is virtually no free time to cope with the increased demand. Over 500 netballers are squeezing their games into two nights each week and one evening at the weekend and there is no time for a junior netball competition”.

O’Keefe added “there is no time for any representative team training let alone any for the teams which play regularly. If we had more time and courts available we would immediately be able to play full time-compliant games, expand into junior competitions, accept training bookings from many of the Football Netball teams playing in the BFL and CHFL and offer the venue to schools for regular competitions”.

Ballarat Basketball Administration and Events Manager, Mark Valentine commented “the venue is full for both competition and training for both sports on all days other than for some limited expansion on a Sunday”.

“Interest in netball is just as strong as basketball and we desperately need this expansion to proceed as soon as possible for the wellbeing of both sports and the community” Mr Valentine added.