Napthine Government promises $24 million for Ballarat sporting venues

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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.

Netball Victoria CEO Michelle Plane said “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,” Ms Plane said.

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

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”.

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”.

“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.