Billson leads ‘final push’ for basketball complex redevelopment as community hub

Friday 27 November 2015:

With a decision likely in the coming weeks, today I convened a very constructive meeting with Frankston City Council and the Frankston and District Basketball Association (FDBA) to support my campaign to secure Commonwealth funding for the stadium redevelopment.

I am pursuing a significant contribution through the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF). The NSRF is highly competitive and supports value-for-money projects that best tackle a region’s social and economic disadvantage.

The funding bid submitted by Council and FDBA explains how much pressure there is on the current Kananook facilities to cater for basketball participation. But I was keen to draw out and emphasise how what we are proposing is also a ‘community hub’ aimed at  improving life, economic and educational opportunities for people in our region- as this is the key and crucial factor to securing Commonwealth funding.

Key aspects of our proposal I will be highlighting when I meet with the responsible Minister again next week in Canberra include how the redeveloped basketball stadium will act as a ‘community hub’ supporting:

  • Job creation during construction, facility operation and larger events
  • Improved educational outcomes with school retention, sports-focused curriculum content and teaching and learning facilities
  • Active lifestyle participation for all age groups and young peoples’ healthy mind, body and social engagement
  • North-of-Frankston region leadership development programs for six local primary and secondary schools
  • Employment and training programs including work placements, event management and hospitality skills
  • Sports participation for adolescent and mature women, people with physical and intellectual disabilities, indigenous, Pacific Islander and South Sudanese communities
  • Disadvantaged persons’ equipment supply and talent development sports participation program involving local service clubs
  • Youth services delivery via a ‘pop up’ Youth Hub and Youth Expo
  • Expanded sports competition venue for district basketball, State tournaments, national league and ‘wheelchair’ teams
  • The facility’s use as a disaster event/emergency service response and care centre; and
  • As a second site (adding to Peninsula Aquatic Recreation Centre) for the Australia Research Council-funded research project involving Monash University and Chisholm Institute examining the health, economic and social impacts of significant recreational facilities and participation.

The meeting highlighted the positive local collaboration that has brought this project to this stage and that is important to present our strongest case for funding support.The current project is estimated to cost $12.5 million with funding from Frankston City Council ($4 million), the FDNA ($1 million) and the former Liberal State Government ($2.5 million).

I am working for a $4.95 million contribution from the Commonwealth Government and have lobbied successive Ministers pursuing this support.To date, Labor has yet to commit a single additional cent toward the project.

It has taken more than 13 months and the intervention of State Upper House Liberal MP Inga Peulich to even get the Victorian Labor Sports Minister to come to our city to show an interest in the project.All our community has got out of Labor for this important project are press releases and petty politicking – simply pathetic.

As any sport-lover would know, talking a good game like local Labor and contributing nothing is no help to securing the result the team is working to achieve.