by Jackson Russell

VICTORIAN Minister for Sport John Eren visited the Macedon Ranges on Thursday, June 14 to meet with Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas and representatives from Macedon Ranges Shire Council regarding sporting needs in the region.

Council briefed Mr Eren on its bid for government funding for the proposed Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Precinct at the meeting at the Macedon Ranges Netball Complex in New Gisborne.

The precinct would provide facilities for indoor and outdoor sport from basketball and netball to football and cricket.

Mr Eren said the proposal is needed for the future, especially with the amount of population growth in the region.

“As a government, we look very closely at projects like this and it’s been brought to our attention by Ms Thomas and we’re having a very serious look at it,” he said.

Ms Thomas said she’s seen a growth in the Macedon Ranges in stadium-based sports, which the precinct project helps to address.

“We’ve got a sports crazy community here and we’re working to meet their needs. This is a project that will benefit many others, not just the Macedon Ranges Shire,” she said.

“Families come to the Macedon Ranges in search of a healthy and active lifestyle and I want to make sure we have the facilities to cater for this demand.”

Mr Eren added it is encouraging to see women in sport are included in the planning of the precinct.

“That is the carrot for councils, it’s actually to make their facilities female friendly and so we’re seeing a real spike in seeing women come back to sport,” he said.

“That’s the pressure point for us, and obviously with this new project, it’s refreshing to see that women are included in the planning.

“If we build it, they will come. We know that and for every dollar that we invest in sport, we save $4 on our health bill, so prevention is better than the cure,” he said.

Land at the northern edge of Gisborne, opposite the Macedon Ranges Netball Complex, has been set aside by council for the proposal.

Attending the briefing were also representatives from the New Gisborne Regional Sports Field and the Macedon Ranges Regional Sports Hub projects.