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Victorian Government backs plans for redevelopment of MCG and Etihad Stadium
The Victorian Government has signed an agreement with the AFL that will pave the way for the redevelopment of two major sports stadiums in Melbourne – the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and Etihad Stadium in Docklands.
The Victorian Government will allocate $225 million to the redevelopments in its upcoming 2018/19 budget, while also backing improvements to Princes (Ikon) Park as the home of the AFL Womens competition, community sport grounds and women’s change room facilities.
Part of the agreement will see the AFL commit to hosthing Grand Finals at the MCG until at least 2057.
As part of the deal, the MCG can go ahead with upgrades to the Southern Stand, with a Victorian Government statement advising “the long-term security provided by the deal will enable the Melbourne Cricket Ground Trust to undertake a major redevelopment of the MCG.”
Vicotiran Premier Daniel Andrews said the upgrades are required for the state to remain competitive in sports infrastructure, telling ABC Radio “if you don’t invest in those things then others pass you by.
“New South Wales is doing this, obviously Queensland will have a whole lot of legacy stadiums and other benefits coming out of the Commonwealth Games.
“Adelaide Oval (has) been completely rebuilt and of course Perth’s got a stadium they’ve spent $1.5 billion on.”
The $225 million allocation will also include the redevelopment of Ikon Park in Carlton North to become home of women’s football in Victoria; upgrades to Whitten Oval, Victoria Park, Casey Fields and stage two of the redevelopment of Moorabbin Oval, as well as a masterplan for the State Basketball Centre.
It also includes $60 million of community sporting grants and a commitment for more regional grounds to host AFL fixtures.
Welcoming the funding, AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan said sport was "such a huge part of this town (Melbourne).
"The AFL alone (has) a $3 billion economic impact for this state.
"These sorts of deals means that we've got more money going into the clubs … and that means we can work hard to keep the game affordable."
McLachlan said interstate teams would understand the decision to keep the AFL Grand Final at the MCG adding “we want as many people to go to the grand final as we can," he said.
"We're lucky in this country to have a 100,000-seat venue that is loved by sports followers."
In addition, the package includs funding of $64.6 million for the redevelopment and expansion of the State Netball & Hockey Centre in Parkville - the biggest investment in netball in the nation’s history.
The MCG was established in 1853 and is “one of the oldest and largest-capacity, contained sporting venues in the world,” according to the Victorian Heritage Register. It has had a number of architecturally significant grandstands in its 165-year history including the Members Pavilion by Stephenson and Meldrum (1927), which has now been demolished, and the Great Southern Stand designed by Daryl Jackson in association with Tompkins Shaw and Evans, built in 1992. The Great Southern Stand received 1992 Victorian Architecture Medal and the Sir Zelman Cowan Award for Public Architecture in 1993.
The Members Pavilion and three other stands were replaced by the Northern Stand, designed by the MCG5 Sports Architects consortium, which comprised Jackson Architects, Cox Architecture, Tompkins Shaw and Evans Architects, HOK and Hassell, and was completed in 2006 for the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. It received a National Commendation for Public Architecture at the 2008 National Architecture Awards.
Etihad Stadium (originally Docklands Stadium) was built in 2000 and designed by Daryl Jackson in association with Bligh Lobb and Populous. It was the flagship project for the stadium precinct in the Melbourne suburb of Docklands.
The AFL purchased Etihad Stadium in November 2016.
Images: Plans for the upgrade to Etihad Stadium (top) and the MCGand Melbourne Olympic from the air (below).
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