Craig Spence, Shadow Sport Minister Don Farrell, Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan, Graham Mazlin, Bob McMahon and Stephen Tween welcome the $3.68m funding announcement for the Whitsunday Sportspark.
Craig Spence, Shadow Sport Minister Don Farrell, Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan, Graham Mazlin, Bob McMahon and Stephen Tween welcome the $3.68m funding announcement for the Whitsunday Sportspark. Shannen McDonald

Sport takes the lead in the Whitsundays

A Liberal National Party grant which fell short more than one million dollars for an Airlie Beach sport park redevelopment, will be matched and extended to reach a total of $3.68m under a Labor Government.

In an election promise, Whitsunday Sportspark in Airlie Beach is to receive funding to complete redevelopment projects designed to turn the sport park into a modern sporting hub.

Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan and Shadow Sport Minister Senator Don Farrell made the announcement on Friday at the Airlie Beach sporting grounds, which hosts a line-up of clubs competing in AFL, rugby union, soccer, rugby league, netball and softball.

The announcement comes just months after the sports park received a LNP grant of $2.1m which fell $1.58m short of the facility's funding needs.

Labor's funding promise will at this point allow the three-stage upgrade to be completed.

 

Whitsunday Sportspark director Graham Mazlin, Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan and Shadow Sport Minister Don Farrell stand in front of what will be the site of the new Whitsunday Sportspark club upgrades.
Whitsunday Sportspark director Graham Mazlin, Labor candidate for Dawson Belinda Hassan and Shadow Sport Minister Don Farrell stand in front of what will be the site of the new Whitsunday Sportspark club upgrades. Shannen McDonald

Whitsunday Sportspark director Graham Mazlin said the investment in the facility, which hosts more than 1000 people every week, would be a driver for increased sports participation in the Whitsundays region.

"The main benefit we are going to see here with the redevelopment is the increase of children participation in sport which in turn gets the families out here as well," Mr Mazlin said.

"This funding allows us to turnkey start a state-of-the-art sporting facility for our region which we will immediately see the benefits of."

Friday's funding announcement came after several other elections promises for the region from Ms Hassan including funding for Proserpine Entertainment Centre and TAFE Whitsunday campus upgrades.

She said investing in the sport park was a "no brainer", adding her commitment to smaller communities remained a high priority.

"Often people in regional communities can get a sense that their needs can be overlooked, but I am incredibly proud to be investing in our state's smaller communities," she said.

"We saw a part-commitment from the part-time member for Dawson earlier this year.

 

Plans for the Whitsunday Sportspark $3.68m upgrade include new modern club room facilities.
Plans for the Whitsunday Sportspark $3.68m upgrade include new modern club room facilities. Shannen McDonald

"I believe in investing in projects that make communities stronger, which is why this project was a no brainer.

"This facility is going to become a central hub for the entire community, giving people a fair go in sport across the board."

 

Plans for the Whitsunday Sportspark $3.68m upgrade include new modern club room facilities.
Plans for the Whitsunday Sportspark $3.68m upgrade include new modern club room facilities. Shannen McDonald

The Whitsunday Sportspark three-stage plan will double the field space and have clubrooms demolished to make room for modern facilities.

Stage one had the installation of a second field and six LED light poles, with stages two and three to add change rooms, storage rooms, an umpire and officials' room, toilets and showers and grandstand seating to complete the modern sports club.

With the upgrades allowing the facility to host more visiting teams, Mr Mazlin said the upgrades would allow sporting tourism in the region to grow.

"Not only will this have benefits for those directly involved but we will also see an increase in tourism," he said.

"People can come and stay the night and see what else our region has to offer."


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