House debates

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Constituency Statements

Bendigo Electorate: Sports Funding

10:55 am

Photo of Lisa ChestersLisa Chesters (Bendigo, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The cricket season is upon us and, as men and women across my electorate start to gather together and train, I would like to encourage all of our women's teams this year. I was proud to create the inaugural Lisa Chesters trophy for the local Bendigo cricket competition last year. It was the first time we had a competition that had both of the leagues coming together to play.

This year will be another great year for women's cricket in Bendigo, but what we need are facilities. We have more and more women taking up the sport and wanting to play, but we don't have the change rooms that are required. We want to host bigger competitions, we want to host some of the big teams coming to our area, but we don't have the facilities that we require. We're not asking for brand-new facilities; we're asking for funding to our part of the world to help upgrade the facilities that we have. Local government can't do it alone. The state government is assisting, but we really need the federal government to get involved. We really need the help.

At the moment there isn't a fund to help fix these facilities. The advice that I get back is to apply to the Building Better Regions Fund, but to date our electorate has done poorly in the allocation of funding from this fund. It has also become a catch-all excuse for government ministers to the regions. If they don't have a fund, if they're not willing to help out, they tell everybody to apply to the Building Better Regions Fund. That is simply not fair and not workable. How can a small club like Axe Creek Cricket Club compete against the City of Greater Bendigo? They simply can't, and they just continue to miss out.

Sports rorts was a problem for this government. While sports funding was a great idea, it was poorly executed. It is disappointing that we haven't seen another community sports fund come about since then, because the original idea was right. Let's help our regions, let's help our communities refresh, rebuild and revamp their facilities so that people have the infrastructure that they need.

Kyneton soccer club is still waiting for its new pitch. It has been very wet in Victoria, as it also has been in large parts of Australia, and at the end of their soccer season they had to play away because their ground was waterlogged. They could have got money through the fund, but we found out later that the money was taken away and given to another project. That is disappointing, because the ground still needs to be upgraded. These are projects that are too large for local government but not large enough to get on the federal government's radar—we need extra funding. We need the federal government to partner with local government and clubs to upgrade these facilities.