Acting Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro and Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres today announced the NSW Government would double its commitment to improving regional sports infrastructure, with an additional $100 million in funding now available for sports projects in regional and remote communities.
The additional $100 million for sports projects will form part of the second round of the Stronger Country Communities Fund, and comes on top of the $100 million Regional Sports Infrastructure Fund announced last year. Both funds form part of the broader $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund.
Mr Barilaro and Mr Ayres made the announcement this morning while visiting the Wingham Rugby League Club, where together with the Member for Myall Lakes Stephen Bromhead, they announced $500,000 of NSW Government funding for the local club which was secured as part of Round One of the Stronger Country Communities Fund.
“We all know how important sport is to regional communities, and by doubling the funding now available for regional sports infrastructure, from $100 million to $200 million, we will see so many more projects just like this one rolled out across regional NSW,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Our $80 billion record infrastructure investment over four years is starting to transform regional communities. Our promises are no longer just on paper, they’re starting to appear all around us in the real world – new hospitals, new schools, better roads and now better sports facilities,” he said.
Mr Ayres said the additional $100 million would be available for local councils and sporting groups to construct new or refurbish existing local sporting infrastructure. “The pathway to representing NSW and Australia for many athletes will start in a community facility in regional NSW,” Mr Ayres said.
“When we invest in sport, we are not only contributing to improved community health and lifestyles, we are also investing in our future stars. “Sport brings regional communities together and is a critical part of making towns and cities cohesive and vibrant places to live,” he said. Mr Bromhead said Wingham Rugby League Football Club has a proud history, and deserved the enormous win.
“What a day for Wingham, for this regional community, and for regional sport more generally,” Mr Bromhead said. “The upgrades to this facility will benefit not just the Rugby League Club, but the local soccer and cricket club, which all use the field for training,” he said.
Local Wingham junior and now Newcastle Knights player Mitch Barnett said he was delighted to see his old club receive such a boost to its facilities. “I grew up playing in Wingham, and will always be a proud Wingham boy,” Mr Barnett said. “This Club gave me the start I needed to be able to go on to enjoy a professional rugby league career. “It is great to see the NSW Government making this kind of investment in regional communities,” he said.
Applications for the Stronger Country Communities Sports Fund Round Two open on 12 March 2018.