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Mt Barker aquatic and sport facility gets extra $5 million in funds from Federal Budget
The development of the Mount Barker Regional Indoor Aquatic and Leisure Centre in the Adelaide Hills has benefitted from a further $5 million in funding in the recent Federal Budget - taking the Australian Government’s contribution to the $30 million to $15 million.
With $10 million announced by then-Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in 2018, the latest contribution comes from the Federal Government’s controversial Community Development Grants Program.
Already contributing a $23 million grant to build a 16,000-seat stadium in Rockhampton, announced by One Nation Leader Pauline Hanson, the Program has been described as a “slush fund” by the Federal Labor Party, with the Rockhampton funding referred to the Federal Auditor General.
Already under construction, the Mount Barker Regional Indoor Aquatic and Leisure Centre will be the biggest aquatic and sports centre in the region and will include three indoor swimming pools, an indoor stadium, a wellness and lifestyle centre, a cafeteria and retail space.
With the balance funded by Mount Barker District Council, the new facility will replace the existing Mountain Pool which was built by volunteers in 1955.
Commenting on the project and the latest funding backing, Federal Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie stated “with this $5 million, the Federal Government has now committed $15 million to what is estimated to be a $30 million project for just Stage 1, so I am pleased that my advocacy has brought this project a significant step forward.
“Mount Barker is a rapidly growing region and it lacks an indoor community aquatic centre.
“The ageing outdoor Mountain Pool is in a beautiful location and is held in great affection by the local community but it was built 60 years ago and it doesn’t meet the needs of a growing population, particularly as only open during the short hills summer.
“An indoor facility catering for families, lap swimming and water therapy has been flagged by the community as something sadly missing from a major regional centre and this funding brings construction that much closer”.
Adelaide Aquatic Centre facing “financial collapse”
South Australian radio station FIVEaa has this week reported that the Adelaide Aquatic Centre is now “teetering on the brink of full-blown financial collapse”.
With the Adelaide City Council facing major costs in updating the ageing facility, as well as ongoing operational losses exaggerated by the Coronavirus crisis, reports FIVEaa Breakfast’s David Penberthy advised on Wednesday that “the Council itself released some figures about a year ago saying the centre was losing $700,000 a year and the estimate back then was over the next decade the Aquatic Centre was set to cost the council between $14 and $21 million over the next decade.
“(I am now aware that) those figures are now significantly worse and an effort is being made to quantify exactly what the future upkeep of it is going to be. It is getting to the point where the whole thing is unviable.
“One of the chief reasons for that is the pandemic where it was closed for months this year (and) new figures are being sought as to how much money it is going to cost the Council. It is getting very close to the point where the Council might have to walk away from the thing in its entirety.”
Click here for more information on the Mount Barker Regional Indoor Aquatic and Leisure Centre project.
7th October 2020 - Federal Budget includes ongoing commitment to Sporting Schools program
17th September 2020 - Federal Government provides $23 million for new Rockhampton Stadium
11th December 2019 - AFL’s Crows reveal plans to replace Adelaide Aquatic Centre with new training base
4th September 2019 - ‘Confidentiality’ shrouds plans for future of ageing Adelaide Aquatic Centre
4th May 2019 - Construction commences on Mount Gambier Aquatic Centre
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