HANSARD – MURRAY BRIDGE REGIONAL STADIUM

Mr PASIN (Barker): I pride myself on delivering funding for important infrastructure upgrades across Barker, including upgrades to sporting facilities, because I strongly believe that participation in sport is a great thing, particularly in regional communities. Sport builds ties, keeps communities physically and mentally healthy, adds to the attractiveness of a community for those considering moving there to fill workforce shortages, and increases the tourism offering.

 

A great example of a project I’ve been strongly supportive of is the Murray Bridge Regional Stadium, a proposal of the rural city of Murray Bridge and the Murray Bridge Basketball Association to maximise the opportunity for growing basketball.

 

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the Murraylands. The association has over 500 playing members. This number is expected to grow with the region, but the current stadium doesn’t comply with Basketball SA standards for hosting high-level events, and it doesn’t have appropriate facilities to encourage female participation. A recent feasibility study for the project showed that an additional 660 sports visitors to Murray Bridge each month could be expected, injecting $1.4 million into the local economy if investment was made in an upgraded facility.

 

A staged approach to the development of the Murray Bridge Regional Stadium had been adopted to establish four new courts. The Building Better Regions Fund, a former Coalition Government initiative that has delivered competitive grants to the benefit of hundreds of local regional communities across the country over five rounds, was slated to provide $1.9 million to this project in stage 1. The Council, with strong encouragement from me, had applied for further funding under the BBRF program, this time under round 6, to fund stage 2.

 

Then Labor entered government and, after months of uncertainty—well, we know what happened—they canned the program altogether.

 

To make things worse, the Rural City of Murray Bridge, in the grips of a flood, requested to rescope and sought an extension of time to deliver stage 1, in accordance with BBRF funding requirements, but Labor denied this request.

 

The council now has no other option but to dissolve the agreement with the Commonwealth and not proceed with the project at all.

 

Let’s be clear: Minister King has denied a flood-ravaged council of an extension of time to spend $1.9 million on stage 1, and has taken the rug from under them by not continuing the Building Better Regions Fund.

This is a huge blow to the basketball association, both current members and future generations.

 

Needless to say, it’s incredibly disappointing for the players but also for employers desperate to attract permanent workers, and to the small businesses that were looking forward to the increase in tourism numbers.

 

This Labor Government is not building better regions.

 

They don’t care about regions at all.

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