Benalla’s sporting clubs who utilise the Arundel Street ovals can look forward to saying goodbye to the old stables and welcoming a new multiuse sporting complex, after Labor Upper House Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, secured $500,000 in Andrews Labor Government funding.

Under Labor, Benalla and District Junior Football League, Benalla Bushrangers Cricket Club, Benalla Saints Sports Club, Benalla Agricultural Society, and potentially Benalla Bandits Baseball and other clubs or codes in the future, can look forward to marching into a new female friendly pavilion at their Benalla home in 2019 thanks to the funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.

The new facilities will also ensure that Benalla can be proud to host regional competitions involving Wangaratta and District Junior Football League, Wangaratta and District Cricket Association, and North East Knights Female Cricket, and could attract other competition and events with purpose built modern facilities.

Joined by Labor candidate for Euroa, Fionna Deppeler-Morton, Ms Symes, made the surprise announcement today to club representatives, school kids, Council representatives and community members that she had secured $500,000 from Sports Minister, John Eren, to build the new pavilion complete with female friendly change rooms, umpires rooms and canteen.

In particular this complex will accommodate the growing numbers of woman and girls taking up AFLW and ensure they have equal access to appropriate facilities that allow them to enjoy the sport they love and enable Benalla to produce more stars, like the recently drafted Becky Webster.

Ms Symes worked closely with the user groups and council during the planning stage, and the junior football Club is proposing to make a significant financial and in-kind contribution to the project which will be transformational to the Arundel ovals precinct, attracting more sporting enthusiasts and ensuring that the growing community has access to the very best facilities.

“Congratulations to all these amazing clubs and the Benalla community who have worked for years to get this project off the ground – I’m so proud that the Labor Government is supporting this worthwhile local project that will benefit our town for generations,” Ms Symes said.

“Our local Nationals Member was so desperate to beat the Government to this announcement, that in July the community were left with a bizarre rushed election promise of $250,000, which would not allow this project to proceed.

“In contrast I have done the hard work, waited for the planning, consulted with council and ensured I haven’t let my community down – it’s only under Labor that this project is now a reality.

“From sporting infrastructure, to school funding, to hospital funding, to job creation, the choice cannot be clearer: Labor delivers results, the Nationals are merely full of promises at election time.”

Ms Deppeler-Morton said this was another great example of how the Andrews Government is making sport and recreation more accessible in country Victoria.

“We know how important this project is for the Benalla community and I’m proud as the Labor candidate for Euroa that we are delivering this project, this isn’t just a promise – unlike the Nationals we are focused on real outcomes that matter to locals,” she said.

“The Andrews Government is giving local communities the facilities they need so more locals can play the sports they love and if I am elected to represent Benalla I will work to finish the job and complete the final stages of the Arundel Street ovals project, including lighting.”

Victorian sports clubs are the lifeblood of our towns, and they deserve modern, accessible, and safe facilities. The Labor Government is getting on with delivering them.

Across Victoria we’ve invested more than $420 million in community sport and recreation facilities to get more people moving and help bring communities together.

It’s backed by almost half a billion dollars in the Victorian Budget 2018/19 to ensure sport and active recreation continue to be accessible to everyone regardless of gender or location.