NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro today announced the NSW Government would contribute $4 million in funding towards the development of the $19 million Canberra and Southern NSW Rugby League Centre of Excellence. Mr Barilaro visited the proposed site for the brand new Centre of Excellence at Northbourne Oval in Braddon today and made the significant funding announcement alongside the ACT Minister for Sport and Recreation, Yvette Berry.
Mr Barilaro said the Centre will comprise of sports and recreation areas, a grassed oval playing area, training areas, adjacent viewing areas, and it will house the Canberra District Rugby League Football Club (CDRL) headquarters and administrative units. “This facility is set to benefit hundreds of young rugby league players and fans in both southern NSW and the ACT, providing borderless access to high level coaching, training and mentoring support, as well as additional NRL competition and trial games in regional NSW towns,” Mr Barilaro said.
“Everyone from under 6’s through to adults will have access to carnivals, clinics and training camps and elite game development opportunities – further benefitting the health and well-being of our regional communities. “Additional competition and trial games will be held in Wagga Wagga, Bega and Queanbeyan, helping to revitalise the link between high performance sport and community engagement,” he said.
Ms Berry said this is another important ACT Government investment in Canberra’s growing and diversifying economy. “Providing a state of the art headquarters for one of Canberra’s elite sporting teams, combined with new community facilities, in the heart of the city, will enhance the area and provide new opportunities for Canberrans of all ages and abilities to get involved with the sport,” Ms Berry said.
“In addition to this facility supporting rugby league programs in the ACT it will also support the surrounding NSW regions and this project provides an excellent example of what can be achieved in partnership when governments work together,” she said. CEO of the Canberra Raiders Don Furner said that this is a wonderful example of cross-border investment by the ACT and NSW Governments to help provide a wonderful new facility to service the entire region.
“Children’s sport is about providing the best possible pathways and programs and these know no-borders, Mr Furner said. “Children come to us from all regions of both the ACT and NSW to participate in rugby league and we want to afford them the best opportunity to do so. “We have long regarded ourselves as the NRL’s ‘country club’ and together with the ACT, we recognise and support several outlying regions including Queanbeyan, Goulburn, Cooma, the Hilltops region, the South Coast and the Riverina,” he said.
NSW Cross-Border Commissioner, James McTavish said the decision to fund the project would have far-reaching benefits for rugby league players and sports lovers on both sides of the ACT/NSW border. “NSW is set to benefit in so many ways from this project,” Mr McTavish said. “In the initial construction phase, many trades and suppliers from our side of the border will be utilised, and once the Centre is built, the health and community benefits will be significant and ongoing,” he said.