A NEW stadium development in the city’s west could fuel sports tourism spending by millions annually for the Ballarat economy.
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Tourism dollars generated by Ballarat Sports and Events Centre will triple in two decades to a projected $6.6 million, according to economic advisers SED.
An SED report reveals the stadium’s immediate return will be $2.45 million in the first year of BSEC’s opening, scheduled for 2018, with an annual financial growth rate of 2.5 per cent.
Figures are based on increased tournaments a fully developed BSEC would attract from a cross-section of sports, including basketball, netball, volleyball and badminton.
Basketball tourism already generates $3.6 million for the city under existing facilities, but Basketball Ballarat has made clear major visiting clubs were already starting to play elsewhere due to a lack of centralised court space.
The $24 million BSEC project is partially funded to deliver a four of six extra courts and a 1500-seat show court rather than a planned 3000 seats.
A live application for $10 million needed to complete the project remains under the federal government’s National Stronger Regions Fund consideration. Grant approvals were delayed by the federal election.
Basketball Ballarat chief executive officer Peter Eddy said the SED report reinforced a wide range of tourism and economic figures the association, in partnership with the City of Ballarat, had presented in previous NSRF bids.
“Following feedback from National Regions Stronger Fund round two, the advice we were given was we had a lot of economic information but it was not well-presented," Mr Eddy said.
“We had to be more evidence-based and more orderly. SED took our economic argument to a whole new level.”
SED advisory partner Tony Irish also found Ballarat’s construction sector had the capability to deliver the project in a planned 20-month period from later this year and would create 129 construction jobs.
Stadium volunteers would generate at least $1.9 million in annual economic return for unpaid service and skills.
The report also detailed extra physical, mental and social benefits BSEC would create.
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