Member for Morwell, Russell Northe has today called for fair and equitable investment across Latrobe Valley’s numerous sporting grounds, clubs and facilities. “Our community is dedicated to, and has a fantastic participation and interest in regional sports and we need to encourage this enthusiasm in our players, families, volunteers and clubs”, Mr Northe said.
“What I’m calling for in the first instance, a full review of the all local sporting facilities in our community, with an understanding of what works are required to modernise all our grounds and facilities. Secondly, the establishment of the ‘Latrobe Sports and Recreation Fund’ that will provide funding, enabling our clubs to complete the necessary works to bring their facilities into the modern world”. This fund would provide $25 million per year for five years, to complete upgrades to each and every recreational facility across Latrobe Valley.
“I’m constantly in contact with the many passionate parents, members and volunteers who are frustrated with the standard of their sporting facilities across Latrobe Valley”, Mr Northe said. “These volunteers work so hard to provide players with the support to participate in their chosen sports, yet they can’t get the necessary funding, or only receive partial funding towards what they need to keep their facilities fit for purpose”.
“Within current programs of upgrades, there does not seem to be a fair or coordinated response to our grassroots sporting club needs”, Mr Northe said, “the constant Band-Aid approach has left some clubs with adequate lighting but pitches that are unsafe; or reasonable pitches but inadequate change room facilities; and so on”.
“For example, Soccer is the largest grassroots sport in our country yet the state of many of our soccer club’s facilities, clubrooms, pitches and lighting are extremely poor”, Mr Northe said. Soccer has grown its local membership to nearly 1,700 participants, with a massive increase in junior and women participation and this is growing faster than any other region in Victoria. Unfortunately, our local facilities just have not kept up.
“Burrage Reserve is the home of Newborough Yallourn United Soccer Club. This is a team that made it to this year’s Seniors Grand Final, yet their pitch was – quite literally – a swamp. They suffered in having to play another Grand Final away from their home ground for the second year in a row, due to ridiculously poor drainage”, Mr Northe said.
“Soccer, Netball, Basketball, Tennis, Football, Cricket and Recreational Clubs across our communities – there are similar stories of poor grounds and infrastructure, all across the Latrobe Valley”, Mr Northe highlighted, “It is high time quality works are done, across the board”.
The ‘Latrobe Sports and Recreation Fund’ would be established by the State Government, and complimented by funding support from Council and the Federal Government as well as funding from the peak bodies of the various sporting codes. At the moment, the Clubs who are lucky enough to have received funding are generally only able to fix one part of their overall needs.
In summary, Mr Northe is calling for:
Funding for a full and comprehensive review of sporting club facilities to be undertaken within the Latrobe Valley
A transparent schedule of works communicated to the community for completion over a five-year period. One manner of doing this might be to rotate the works to be completed in each of the major towns and areas per year, such as; Southern towns, Northern towns, Moe, Morwell, Traralgon
The State Government to provide $25 million each year for the next five years to establish the ‘Latrobe Sports and Recreation Fund’
Allow where possible, the various clubs to Project Manage their own upgrades to ensure the funds are spent on the most appropriate solutions and obtain value for money
“Today, I am standing with the clubs, families, players and kids of grassroots sports in the Latrobe Valley, to fight for better conditions for them to be active, involved and participate in sports, on fit-for-purpose grounds”, Mr Northe said. “We need to support our volunteers, parents, players and kids to develop in the sport, allowing all participants to enjoy being active, on fit-for-purpose grounds and clubrooms”.