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Sports bonanza

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Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard shared the funding announcement of over $1 million, in real money, for the Bacchus Marsh Regional Community Sports Hub at the Racecourse Recreation Reserve with (L-R back) Moorabool Mayor Paul Tatchell, Deputy mayor John Keogh, Deirdre Davey (BM Pony Club), Scott Oldfield (BM Soccer), Michaela Settle (Candidate for Buninyong) and (front) BMX club members Stephanie Stewart and Troy Nolan. Photo – Helen Tatchell

By Helen Tatchell

With only one week left of his political career, Geoff Howard has made a significant ‘last hurrah’ announcement for Moorabool, as he exits from his State Member for Ballarat East/Buninyong seat after 19-years with the Labor party.
The Andrews Government will invest $800,000 from its Community Sports Infrastructure Fund to build a new pavilion at the Bacchus Marsh Regional Community Sports Hub at the Racecourse and Recreation Reserve.
The new pavilion will feature four female friendly change rooms for athletes and umpires, storage space, community space and a covered spectator area.
Mr Howard said all change facilities and public amenities will be fully accessible.
“This pavilion will provide more opportunities, so people can get active and play the sport they love.
“The redevelopment of Bacchus Marsh Racecourse Reserve will deliver a world-class sports centre that everybody in this community can enjoy.”
But wait, there’s more!
A further $250,000 will also be invested by the government from the World Game Facilities Fund to deliver 100 lux competition standard lighting to two new soccer pitches at the reserve.
“Moorabool Council also applied to the new Community Sports Infrastructure Loans scheme, that allows councils to get underway with recreational projects, with the Treasurer Mr Tim Pallas approving up to $7 million,” Mr Howard said.
“This is available over the next two years as council needs to draw down on that funding, so we can see in the next two years this project really humming along, with the BMX track, the soccer fields and other facilities in place as they need to be.
“This funding allows the shire to get on and complete this project or the next stage over the coming year,” Mr Howard told the large crowd of user groups at the announcement.
Mayor of Moorabool Shire Paul Tatchell said this will be the single largest investment of recreational facilities in Bacchus Marsh since well before amalgamation, with a total project cost of close to $20 million.
“Anyone that can borrow money at 1.75 per cent realises that you are actually making money on that. It brings projects forward. Even just by CPI we are a mile in front by doing it today,” he said.
Cr Tatchell said the Loans scheme was magnificent and smart.
“I congratulate the government on a sensible scheme that is based on the business case put forward by our Council.
“It does away with all that talk of ‘safe seats’; basically, it means shires can keep their books in order and borrow money at half the treasury rate. Credit must go to Moorabool’s finance team, officers and general managers who make sure these things happen, because without that work we would never be able to borrow that money.”
Cr Tatchell also acknowledged the great work by the user groups at the reserve.
“Without that great volunteerism and the passion from these groups we would never be in a position to put these plans in place,” he said.
Mr Howard confirmed the $800,000 and the $250,000 will be up-front, is not part of the loan scheme and definitely not an election commitment.
“These are grants, committed money to the Moorabool Shire to get on with the project,” he said.
This support comes on top of $200,000 previously allocated by the Andrews Government toward a new BMX circuit, cricket pitch and two soccer ovals.
User groups of the reserve include, but not limited to:
The Bacchus Marsh Harness racing club, Soccer club, BMX and Pony club.