by Jackson Russell
ONE of Victoria’s peak sports bodies has called out the Macedon Ranges Shire Council over the omission of the proposed Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Hub from council’s 2018/19 draft budget.
Basketball Victoria said in a statement released last week that the hub is an infrastructure program that needs to be addressed and without inclusion in the draft budget, it will continue to stall “as the region is denied desperately needed infrastructure.”
Facilities and Government Relations Manager Wayne Bird said it’s important to keep momentum going on the project as the region desperately needs new courts and infrastructure.
“The Macedon Ranges region is in urgent need of new facilities. There are only six courts available for use across the shire, meaning each of those courts has to cater for 7583 residents,” Mr Bird said.
“This is on the higher side of Victorian court-to-resident ratios and the development of the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Hub would not only go a long way to slashing this deficit, but importantly provide for future growth.
“The Hub needs to be put back on the agenda within the Macedon Ranges Shire Council as any delay means further exacerbation of the existing deficit.
“Basketball Victoria wants to ensure the needs of the community and the council are met to ensure a prosperous future for the Macedon Ranges’ basketball community.”
Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Hub volunteer Tamara Collins said while the hub wasn’t inlcuded in the draft budget, council has supported the proposal.
“Council have been great, they’ve supported our proposal. We just need to approach state politicians now to get funding for our project. We’ve received federal funding of $100,000 and now we’re really hopeful that our state leaders will have us on their radar,” she said.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council Director Community Wellbeing Karen Stevens said council resolved in March to integrate the hub proposal into a Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct project and seek funding opportunities including grants.
“No budget allocation was provided in the draft Budget Report 2018/19 as no works are expected to begin on the hub project in the 2018/19 financial year,” she said.
“Council plans to allocate funds to the project in subsequent financial years when construction is likely and once the amount of funding and grants provided by local groups, peak bodies and state and federal governments is known.”
A special meeting of council was held on Wednesday night, May 30 where submitters to the budget could be heard. Among them was the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Hub group.
“While Basketball Victoria did not make a formal submission to the budget, it is understood it is supportive of the hub committee’s submission,” Ms Stevens added.