BALLARAT’S bid for a fully redeveloped indoor stadium has been rejected, again, under the federal government’s National Stronger Regions Fund.
It is a tough blow for the Ballarat Basketball and the City of Ballarat, which together sought $10 million to take the Ballarat Sports and Events Centre project to a standard that could attract national and international sports and mass-participation tournaments and events.
Not one Ballarat project has received funding under the Abbott-Turnbull Government’s infrastructure program.
The BSEC was overlooked in NSRF round one and two grants last year and has been in limbo since July on a round three decision due to the federal election.
Basketball Ballarat chief executive officer Peter Eddy, representing the city’s indoor sports group, said unfortunately, the extra time, effort, costs and advice from senior government ministers and Department of Infrastructure representatives had proved fruitless.
In a statement released on Friday, Mr Eddy said all indoor sports were deeply disappointed with the rejection, which would curtail the capacity for regional sports to grow.
He said western Victoria stands to lose about $5.5 million in economic benefit.
Ballarat is already missing out on sports and events tourism to higher, nearby regional facilities in Bendigo, Geelong and Werribee, and metropolitan venues like Frankston Basketball, which received $5 million in NSRF round two, and Melbourne East Netball, which received a $10.5 million Liberal promise in the federal election.
Basketball Australia has already confirmed Ballarat no longer meets the standards to host national championships.
National Basketball League franchise Melbourne United and Women’s National Basketball League clubs Bendigo and Melbourne Boomers have flagged they were keen to hose in-season matches in Ballarat with improved venues.
The BSEC redevelopment will proceed with a $14 million budget, including state and local government funding, to add four courts with little extra room for program growth. A show court will seat 1500 spectators, rather than 3000.
Once complete, the stadium will offer marquee basketball teams Miners and Rush and state league netball club Sovereigns a fixed training base.
Ballarat Labor MP Catherine King pledged $5 million to the project during the federal election.
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