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Victorian budget backs arts, sport and venues
The 2015/16 Victorian State budget has delivered a range of funding commitments for the arts, parks, sport and venues.
Backing up a series of election commitments, the budget will boost major events, creative industries, community sporting infrastructure and the natural environment.
Events and Venues
In addition to a commitment to invest an additional $80 million in major events advised on Sunday (3rd May), the Budget includes provision for the Stage Two upgrade of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre - expected to cost between $190 and $210 million.
The project will add thousands of square metres of new exhibition space, more multi-purpose space, and links to the existing Melbourne Exhibition Centre and Melbourne Convention Centre.
The Budget also provides $70 million to upgrade Geelong’s Simonds Stadium, increasing the ground’s capacity to 36,000 with a further $4.8 million will help elevate the Kardinia Park precinct to trust status, preserving the historic ground well into the future.
The Budget also includes $31.5 million to upgrade Eureka Stadium in Ballaratwith a new grandstand and lights so it can host AFL games, and $25 million to develop a first-class cricket facility at the historic Junction Oval in St Kilda, capable of hosting Sheffield Shield matches and international events.
Arts and Creative Industries
$26.5 million in funding will strengthen Victoria’s renowned and diverse independent arts sector, supporting artists, small to medium arts and cultural organisations, education, youth and multicultural arts programs.
The Budget provides $30 million to redevelop the Geelong Performing Arts Centre, to include more dance studios, a brand new façade and a conversion of the nearby church into a 150-seat cabaret and music venue.
The State Library of Victoria also receives $55.4 million towards its planned expansion; $18 million to help Museum Victoria renew its permanent exhibitions at Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum; and $9 million for The National Gallery of Victoria’s to present exciting contemporary art and design exhibitions.
Victoria’s state-owned cultural assets, which are valued at $2.2 billion, will be safe and sound with $20 million to continue the Arts and Cultural Facilities Maintenance Fund.
In addition, the Budget will back the live music scene with $12.2 million in funding for Music Works, supporting the skills of local artists and the expansion of live music venues.
Screen and design industries will receive $6.4 million to help Victoria attract more overseas investment, through Film Victoria and signature events while $20 million will support for regional touring and put the spotlight on the cultural strengths of cities, towns and communities across the state.
$13.4 million will also be invested to save St Kilda’s Palais Theatre from decay and disrepair.
The Budget provides $2.7 million to make 1,000 life-saving defibrillators available to sports clubs across the state, so spectators and players can step in if a player suffers a cardiac arrest.
Within spending of $226 million to support the community sports clubs and upgrade stadiums and venues, the Budget establishes a $100 million Community Sports Infrastructure Fund to help local clubs upgrade tired rounds and build the facilities they need.
The Budget provides $10 million to build and upgrade women’s change rooms at grounds and sports centres across the state while, with netball is one of Melbourne’s fastest growing sports, $9.6 million will be provided to build 64 netball courts in inner-city Melbourne.
The Budget also provides $2 million for the Country Football Netball Program to continue and $14 million to encourage more people to get outdoors, take up a sport and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The Active Communities Participation package also supports high performance athlete development and helps people living with a disability to participate.
Parks and the Environment
The Budget provides $132 million to give families a safe, enjoyable and comfortable way to see Victoria’s natural assets.
The Budget provides a $11 million emergency injection of funds for Parks Victoria to upgrade dilapidated buildings, toilets, paths and roads and build new facilities in parks across the state.
$2 million will be used to establish the Canadian State Park in Ballarat while, while $5.8 million is provided to continue free entry for children under 16 to Victoria’s Zoos on weekends, public holidays and during school holidays.
$9 million will also be provided to Zoos Victoria to complete the new and exciting Predator Prey precinct, which will replace the outdated Big Cat exhibit that displayed animals within old wire cages.
A new mountain bike facility at Harcourt and a 144 kilometre trail through the Grampians National Park will also be funded in the Budget.
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