Thursday, 3 December 2020
Chisholm Electorate: Box Hill City Oval
I would like to take this moment to discuss an exciting opportunity that has been proposed in my electorate of Chisholm: the redevelopment of the Box Hill City Oval. This project would enormously benefit the sporting communities in the Box Hill area. The proposed works would help the clubs meet the growing demand for dual-gender facilities and meet public access expectations. This work, which will create a lively sporting precinct that supports regional sports administration, educational institutions and community groups, is sorely overdue and would be enthusiastically welcomed by our community.
The Box Hill City Oval is the highest-profile sporting venue in our area. It has a rich and long history in the local community, with the primary grandstand having been built almost a century ago. However, it is perceived as a walled-off sporting club. The people associated with the facility, including the Box Hill Hawks, have been pushing to change this perception by upgrading their facilities. The Box Hill City Oval should be a welcoming, accessible and highly functional facility that can be used for a wide range of sporting and community activities. This upgrade will help bring the facility into the modern age, and not just architecturally.
Year by year the number of women participating in Aussie rules football continues to climb. Census data shows that more than 127,000 women and girls pulled on their boots to play footy in 2018. This represents a growth of 14.2 per cent in female football participation, and this is showing down at Box Hill City Oval. The existing facilities do very little to accommodate the continuing rise in female participation and interest, but there are plans to change all that. Developing new VFLW locker rooms and amenities will go a long way towards recognising the massive increase in demand for, and participation in, women's sport.
The same can be said for cricket. In the summer of 2018-19, registered female cricket participation grew by 14 per cent, and, at that point, women accounted for approximately 30 per cent of cricket participants across Australia. This number will no doubt continue to grow, and the Box Hill City Oval needs to grow with that demand. So it's not just the Hawks who stand to benefit. The proposed redevelopment of the Box Hill City Oval includes upgrades to the changing facilities and clubrooms of the Box Hill Cricket Club, the mighty fighting Mustangs. This will give the club the capacity to expand their numbers and also to better cater for those who just want to sit back, relax and watch a great game of cricket down at their local oval.
Chisholm is a multicultural electorate, and, as such, it is important that any major community program reflects that. Not only will the Box Hill City Oval be able to meet the demands of football and cricket in my electorate; it will provide sorely needed activity space for badminton, table tennis, ultimate frisbee, tai chi, walking and riding tracks, outdoor gym equipment, netball and so on, to reflect the diversity of needs and wants in Chisholm.
I have been in constant discussion with many of the local sports clubs presidents and players and other supporters of this project. I can personally vouch for the overwhelming support of the wider community for this project.