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$15 million commitment to Athletics at Melbourne’s Albert Park
While attending the final day of the National Athletics Championships at Melbourne's Olympic Park yesterday (Sunday 17th April) Victoria Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty announced that the new State Athletics Centre at Albert Park, which is currently under construction, would now receive the funding necessary for its completion.
Minister Delahunty announced "recently we discovered that this project was significantly under-funded by the previous Labor Government, which provided insufficient funds to deliver some crucial aspects of this terrific facility."
Minister Delahunty stated that $12.9 million was required to complete the Centre, with allocations of:
ï¾ $5.5 million to provide for athletics, principally to build an extra floor for Athletics Australia in the athletics building;
ï¾ $7 million for additional scoping including DDA compliance, lighting, catering and function centres;
ï¾ $0.4 million to upgrade seating in the existing stand
Minister Delahunty also advised of the provision of initial recurrent funding of $1.4 million, adding "as a responsible government, we are taking the steps to resolve this problem and we will provide the necessary funding of $15 million in the upcoming Budget for the construction to continue.
"We have worked hard to provide funding for the upgrading of the Bob Jane Stadium with new seats, the installation of electronic scoreboards and lighting, as well as providing appropriate disability access, and an additional floor of office space for Athletics Australia staff."
Minister Delahunty said the funding would now also cover the purchase of new athletics equipment and a refurbishment of the Albert by the Lake function centre and continued "we must now introduce a rigorous process to ensure that the State Athletics Centre will have proper governance, management, design and financial costing, and to ensure the project is delivered.
"The State Athletics Centre is a fantastic addition to Melbourneï¾s network of unbeatable sporting facilities, and will be a breeding ground for up and coming athletes from around Victoria.
"Once complete, the State Athletics Centre will not only be a new focal point for elite athletics in Victoria, but also a terrific modern facility for school and community events and training.
"It will provide much improved administrative offices for the Victorian Institute of Sport, Athletics Australia, Athletics Victoria and Australian Little Athletics."
Prior to yesterday's announcement, Athletics Australia had been concerned that it was leaving Melbourne's Olympic Park without guaranteed funding for the completion of its new home at Albert Park centred on the Bob Jane Stadium.
The relocation resulted from a 2008 decision by former Victorian Premier John Brumby to move all Olympic sports to Albert Park with the former Olympic Park stadium to be transformed into a training ground for Collingwood Football Club.
Redevelopment costs at Albert Park had risen after the southern grandstand at the Bob Jane Stadium was declared unsafe and in need of a total overhaul.
Athletics Australia needs the stadium completed up to international standard by 2012 as it wants to continue hosting IAAF Diamond League events.
Tamsyn Lewis was the winner of the final track and field event (the ladies 400 metres) to be held at Melbourne's Olympic Park.
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