Ballarat Sporting Infrastructure: Adjournment Matter

Ms ADDISON (Wendouree) (19:07): 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 Events 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.

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