You’d be forgiven for thinking there was an election campaign in progress, with recent visits from Federal Ministers and this week the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack who was in town to tour the soon to be completed Stage 1 of the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct.
Mr McCormack, who was accompanied by Member for Mallee Anne Webster and Mildura Mayor Jason Modica, was in awe of what he saw and said the complex would be the envy of many an electorate.
“I have been to a lot of sporting stadiums around the nation and I have not seen a better one,” Mr McCormack said.
“This is world-class. This will attract world-class athletes and events and so I congratulate Mildura and Mayor Jason Modica and I also acknowledge the role my good friend and colleague Anne Webster has played in helping to make this complex one of the best, not just in Victoria, but all of Australia.”
When complete, the almost $40 million facility will be home to Mildura’s basketball and netball competition and the AFL standard oval will have the potential to attract AFL football games to Mildura.
“Six courts for netball and basketball, a football ground, which I know South Mildura − the mighty Bulldogs − are going to utilise to their advantage, and all of Sunraysia should be very proud of what Council have built here,” Mr McCormack said.
“We want to make regional communities liveable. And one of the first things that people look at when they go to a town, either to move or to holiday, is what sort of sporting amenities do they have.
“Mr Mayor, you have a great aquatic centre and now you have a sporting complex which is second to none.”
Councillor Modica said: “Since the complex was first proposed in 2003, I am really proud of Council’s staff who have got this first stage of the project to the point that will see it opening in the coming months.”
Anne Webster thanked the Deputy PM for making the time to visit Mildura and the sporting precinct.
“It’s great to have Michael here in Mildura looking at this Building Better Regions Fund investment,” she said.
“This fund has given regions the opportunity to build some amazing projects and the Mildura South Regional Sporting Precinct is one of those. The Federal Government’s contribution of $17.5 million, plus another $1million from the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Fund for the road out the front of the complex, has helped make this possible.
“The progress that has been made here is amazing. To think it was just two years ago when the first sod of soil was turned, and to be standing here today to see Stage 1 almost complete, is very exciting.”
In the wake of last week’s big spending Federal Budget, McCormack was asked if the almost $1trillion dollar projected national debt was a concern for the Government and the nation.
” I have every confidence in Australia’s ability to pay down that debt,” Mr McCormack said.
“I have every confidence in our regional communities to lead the way. Whether it’s through agriculture or resources or indeed through infrastructure and construction.
“I know as were travelling here today, we were stopped at the road works on the Calder Highway and I know that those workers were there because of the Federal Government making sure that we have the right road works programs in place. We currently have the widening of that highway taking place. Right throughout the Wimmera and Mallee and Sunraysia, we are building the roads that people expect and deserve.
“The 12 councils in the regions are sharing in more than $72 million in funding, which is unprecedented. In addition to that, there is $3 billion worth of road safety upgrades – all part of the $110 billion we are spending across the nation supporting more than 140,000 jobs.”
Mr McCormack added that the spending in the budget was necessary. “I don’t think there is an Australian who would have said that we shouldn’t have invested in JobKeeper, that we shouldn’t have up the amount of JobSeeker and that we shouldn’t have done what we did in response to COVID,” he said.
“There wasn’t a manual that we could pull-down off the shelf to say ‘this is how we address this global pandemic’.”