The Hunter Sports Centre will undergo a major expansion thanks to a $10 million funding injection from the NSW Nationals in the federal government.
The funding, through the government’s Building Better Regions Fund, will help transform the venue into a world-class facility that better supports local athletes, attracts more events. and creates new jobs and economic opportunities in the region.
The commitment of the NSW Nationals in the federal government paves the way for Lake Macquarie City Council to progress its $25.7 million upgrade of the region’s premier sporting venue. The upgrade includes:
- a new 4,505m2 multi-storey building with meeting and function rooms as well as fitness and treatment facilities;
- upgrades to the athletics track to secure tier-one status; and
- improved site access and safety, including more parking and a new signalised pedestrian crossing.
The construction phase of the project will create around 100 new jobs while providing opportunities for local businesses.
Once complete, the Hunter Sports Centre will attract an expected 260,000 visitors a year – up from 180,000 currently – with flow-on benefits set to generate more than $16 million in local economic activity.
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said the government’s investment would benefit the entire region, helping local athletes to achieve their dreams on the track while delivering an economic boost off it.
“Our government is committed to delivering the projects local communities need to get ahead,” Mr Joyce said.
“Funding the infrastructure and services that regional towns need for the future will help them rebound strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This investment in the Hunter Sports Centre will create jobs while ensuring the facility continues to attract major events and visitors into the future, which will help drive the economic growth of this region.
“It’s also about ensuring local athletes have the facilities they need to train and grow into future champions. This funding will deliver the upgrades and facilities athletes need to achieve their dreams.
“We are very proud to partner with Lake Macquarie City Council to bring this important project to life.”
Nationals Senator for NSW Perin Davey said the upgrade will put the Hunter Sports Centre on the competitive athletics map.
“It widens the opportunity for athletics not just for the region, but for the state and beyond,” Senator Davey said.
“This is a project that will benefit well beyond the local community and it’s exactly the kind of investment we should be making in the regions.”
Lake Macquarie City Council Mayor Kay Fraser welcomed the government’s funding commitment.
“This is exciting news for our city that will bring more major events to Lake Macquarie and our region and provide state-of-the-art facilities for the benefit of our community,” Mayor Fraser said.
“Through this partnership with the Federal Government, Council will deliver a multi-purpose, world-class sporting facility supporting a diverse range of activities.”
Under Round 5 of the BBRF, the NSW Nationals in the federal government have provided $300 million for 298 projects across regional Australia. These projects will create an estimated 9,900 jobs and deliver a further $330 million of stimulus through co-investment, to drive regional Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BBRF supports economic and social infrastructure for the long-term benefit of regional communities.