Ballarat Sporting Infrastructure – Ministerial Response

Scroll down for the Minister’s response, or click here to discover more about how we’re working for Wendouree.

Original adjournment matter from Juliana Addison MP to Parliament –

I direct my adjournment matter to the Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, and the action I seek is for him to provide me with an update on the Victorian government’s investment in major sporting infrastructure and events in Ballarat.

It is well known that Victoria is Australia’s sporting and cultural capital, and it is thanks to investments made by the Andrews Labor government that regional centres like Ballarat can now offer outstanding sporting facilities capable of hosting national and international sporting events.

It was great that Ballarat hosted a number of WNBL games across January. I had the opportunity to attend a couple of these matches and was very impressed with the skills and athleticism on display by some of the best basketballers in the country as well as international imports. Having our world-class Ballarat Sports and Events Centre was a major factor in the decision by the Perth Lynx to base players and club officials in Ballarat during January.

I am pleased that regional Victoria, particularly my electorate of Wendouree, has hosted a number of other events already this year, including the AusCycling road nats and the Ballarat Pacing Cup. Our investment in Mars Stadium has contributed to Ballarat having the opportunity to host an NRL preseason match for the first time, when the Melbourne Storm take on the Newcastle Knights on 27 February. This will be the first time that Ballarat has ever hosted an NRL game, and I know local Storm fans are very excited to be seeing their favourite players in Ballarat this Sunday.

We are also looking forward to welcoming the Western Bulldogs back to their second home at Mars Stadium this year for two AFL home-and-away matches.

Mr Wynne: Who are they playing?

Ms ADDISON: I am not sure yet. I will have to check the fixture, Minister.

Ballarat is able to host these major sporting events as a result of the important investments by the Andrews Labor government in Ballarat Sports and Entertainment Centre, Bray Raceway and Mars Stadium.

Support for blockbuster events like the AusCycling road nats is another way the Victorian government is supporting local jobs and providing a boost for Ballarat businesses. Victoria is the home of cycling in Australia, and we are proud to host the Federation University Road National Championships in Ballarat. The five-day event features criterium road race, Gran Fondo and time trial events and continues to grow in numbers each year.

We are thrilled to welcome Australia’s most talented cyclists to Ballarat each year as they vie for the coveted green and gold national champions jersey. These championships showcase our beautiful city of Ballarat and Buninyong, not only to participants and spectators but even a greater audience through national and international broadcasts.

The road nats provide a wonderful opportunity for Ballarat to show off our amazing sights and our great hospitality, with plenty happening on and off the track, as well as boosting the local economy. I thank the minister for his commitment to sports infrastructure in the regions, and I look forward to his response.


Response from the Hon Martin Pakula MP, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events (6th April 2022) –

The Victorian Government has a strong history of investing in sporting facilities and initiatives to support national and international sporting and major events in Ballarat.

Mars Stadium is one of Victoria’s best regional sporting venues, which is why in 2019 the Government invested $6.6 million for new entrances, ticket boxes and covered areas, and increased accessible seating in the Western and Eastern stands of the ground.

These upgrades are part of $11.8 million funding for the Eureka Sports Precinct, which included $5.2 million for upgrades to the nearby Ballarat Sports and Events Centre (BSEC). This funding delivered a new strength and conditioning centre, outdoor 3×3 basketball courts and a façade upgrade for the BSEC.

This expansion builds on the $38.5 million provided to redevelop the Eureka Sports Precinct. This package was completed in 2017 and brought Mars Stadium up to AFL standard and delivered upgrades at BSEC including six new courts for multi-sport use, a 3,000-seat show court, learning rooms and sports medicine facilities.

The Government recognises that major events are a key part of Victoria’s regional visitor economy. The Government supports regional events through the Significant Sporting Events Program and the $20 million Regional Events Fund. The Regional Events Fund supports events that showcase our regional tourism strengths and build Victoria’s reputation as an events destination.

Recent sporting events supported through the Significant Sporting Events Program and Regional Events Fund include AFL and AFLW premiership season games, A-League football, international and national level basketball and road cycling. In February, Ballarat hosted a National Rugby League match for the first time with Melbourne Storm playing Newcastle Knights in a pre‑season game.

Since 2014, the Significant Sporting Events Program has secured 33 events for the Ballarat region. This is in addition to cultural events such as the Ballarat Begonia Festival, Archibald Prize and the Ballarat Winter Festival. These events generate significant local economic benefit by driving tourism and supporting local jobs and small businesses. Importantly, they showcase Ballarat and the region through national and international broadcasts.