The Federal Coalition has committed $5 million to enhance community facilities within the new home of NSW Cricket at Wilson Park, in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct, if re-elected this Saturday.
The additional investment for the new Cricket NSW Centre of Excellence will provide additional community facilities, meeting rooms and training pitches, and builds on the previously announced $30 million commitment from the NSW State Government.
Federal Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie, Federal Liberal Party Candidate for Reid, Dr Fiona Martin, Cricket NSW Chief Executive Lee Germon, as well as Blues captain Peter Nevill and Breakers batter Naomi Stalenberg, attended the announcement at the soon-to-be-opened Cricket NSW interim headquarters within Sydney Olympic Park.
The new facility, north of the main Olympic Park development, is expected to be completed within three years.
The Centre of Excellence at Wilson Park will provide high performance training facilities for the Blues and Breakers, as well as the Sydney Thunder and Sixers. Cricket NSW junior cricket pathways teams, as well as community cricketers from across Sydney, will also have access to state of the art, year-round, indoor and outdoor wickets and training fields.
Mr Germon welcomed the announcement.
“This funding from the Liberals and Nationals will make a significant difference to the scope of community cricket facilities we will be able to provide in the Wilson Park development,” said Mr Germon.
“There are thousands of cricketers in the Reid electorate and tens of thousands in New South Wales who will benefit directly from this investment. These expanded community facilities will inspire current and future cricketers to love our sport.
“During the 2018/19 season, Cricket NSW teams won titles in each junior pathway age group played in the Australian Cricket National Under Age tournaments, in both boys’ and girls’ cricket.”
Administration facilities, which will help support local competitions and community cricket, will also be developed.
Ms McKenzie stressed the importance of the new facilities for driving greater participation in sport and getting more Australians more active, more often.
“Our investment in sport and physical activity that will encourage greater participation has many benefits including improved physical and mental health, greater community connectedness along with enhancing our sporting reputation,” said Ms McKenzie.
“It is about supporting sport and physical activity at all levels, from grassroots through to elite – and being able to capitalise on the large increase in females getting involved in cricket, thanks to the success of our Australian Women’s Cricket Team and the hugely successful NSW Breakers.”
The Breakers were the first female domestic cricket team to move to a professional footing, during the 2016/17 season, when all players were offered full-time playing contracts. They have won 20 of the 23 WNCL titles to be played.
Dr Martin said the funding would provide indoor and outdoor training opportunities for local cricketers from across the electorate and more widely, who suffer from a lack of year-round and all-weather training venues.
“The Coalition understands the need for better sporting facilities across the country as many of the existing buildings are out of date and frequently don’t have the required change rooms for females which is a major deterrent to getting more women and girls involved,” said Dr Martin.