There’ll be many interested spectators watching ACT Labor kick goals with its pre-election promise to upgrade Canberra’s sporting fields to the tune of $26 million into improving fields and facilities, reports student journalist Molly Baxter.

By the end of 2017, over $26 million will be injected into local parks, sporting grounds and facilities such as canteens and toilet blocks with a call for a healthier and fitter Canberra.

Andrew Barr, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation, states that the Government puts sporting facilities as one of its top priorities.

“By investing in valuable community assets such as new and improved sporting facilities and support for key sporting events also means we are investing in the health and wellbeing of Canberrans.”

According to the 2012-2013 ACT budget; about 77% of adults and 71% of children in Canberra regularly participate in physical activity, with about 92% of people being satisfied with the management of Canberra sports grounds.

According to the ABS, 5 to 17 years were the most likely to use structured facilities such as sports grounds or ovals, while people aged 25 to 34 were the most likely to use facilities such as gyms and public pools or courts. Outdoor facilities such as parks, beaches and walking trails were most popular with people aged 45 to 64 years.

Investing in Big Sport

The ACT government has Manuka Oval on the top of its list with over $14 million going towards upgrading its lights, grandstand, a scoreboard and catering facilities.

In June of 2012, Mr Barr released a statement outlining the funding being given from both the federal government and the ACT government, with $2.5 million coming from the Commonwealth and a further $2.847 million allocated by the ACT Labor government, with another $3.18 million allocated in the budget for future redevelopment to upgrade the major Canberra oval.

The new lights are designed to minimise light spill into surrounding residential and commercial areas, as bigger and brighter lights are needed to be able to host and broadcast bigger games.

With the expansion of the AFL and Cricket Australia’s Big Bash series being played in Canberra, upgrading Manuka Oval has proved to be a necessity, which will see more tourism come to the area whilst also showing Canberra as a competitor to other major stadiums and cities.

The upgrade of the long standing oval will ensure that it is up to broadcasting standards, allowing it to host more elite games.

Government funding allowed the oval to upgrade it’s seating to 15,000 spectators and also fit in corporate and media boxes.

The upgrade will enhance Canberra’s infrastructure and by investing into sporting fields, the ACT government can increase tourism and cash flow back into the community.

This investment will see top sporting events happen throughout 2013, starting off with a Big Bash game seeing Australia play West Indies in February.


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