Basketball, netball state bodies make a play on indoor court space

Victorian Sports Minister John Eren.
Victorian Sports Minister John Eren.

MOVES to address an ongoing chronic indoor court shortage in Ballarat now have a clear case for support.

Basketball and netball’s state bodies have put their game plans clear on the table in a bid to prevent court shortfalls in the next decade. The governing organisations made a joint facility master plan presentation to Victorian Sports Minister John Eren and local government representatives in Werribee on Monday morning.

While a redeveloped $24 million Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, boasting eight indoor courts, will ease court pressure across the region, both netball and basketball studies have highlighted the need to further keep up with predicted population growth.

Netball participation rates are about 2.5 per cent across the Central Highlands region, which also has one of the lowest court allocations in the state.

Almost three per cent of Ballarat’s population are Basketball Victoria members.

Netball Victoria western region manager Mel Taylor said City of Ballarat had done an amazing amount of work on improving outdoor courts and facilities, especially in footy-netball arenas, but it was about flexibility.

“That’s made a big impact and really helped grow netball participation and the City’s done a great job listening to netballers and clubs on what’s needed,” Ms Taylor said. “Our partnership with Basketball Victoria is a great one for a shared voice to state, local and federal governments. Both sports have a lack of court space and something has to be done...Our main focus is that for anyone who wants to play, there is a court available.”

Ms Taylor said Llanberris netball-specific courts were great for Ballarat but looking to the future, and strong growth in Ballarat West, there had to be greater flexibility for future indoor court facilities.

Basketball Ballarat chief executive officer Peter Eddy said both facility reports helped prioritise exactly what was needed across the state, from grassroots to elites, and would be good support for one-off cases like a BSEC.