Ms VAGHELA (Western Metropolitan) (12:47): My constituency question is directed to the Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Youth and Minister for Community Sport, the Honourable Ros Spence, MP.
The Andrews Labor government has announced $13.5 million for a community cricket program. The applications are open for the 2020–21 round.
We have 235,000 registered cricket participants across Victoria. I am sure you all know about our love for cricket. Victoria is also Australia’s home for cricket.
The program has already delivered more than $1.4 million in grants to 15 projects. This second round of the program will deliver another $1.4 million for clubs and councils to develop or redevelop local cricket infrastructure. Clubs and communities can cater for even more Victorians, particularly women and girls, keen to be involved in the sport.
My question to the minister is: can the minister advise how this program will support cricket clubs in the Western Metropolitan Region?
Ms SPENCE (Yuroke—Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Community Sport, Minister for Youth):
I thank the member for her question and her support of community sport and community cricket in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Providing high quality community sport and recreation infrastructure is a key objective of the Victorian Government and is integral to the health and well-being of all Victorians. Initiatives announced in the 2020–21 State Budget bring the Andrews Labor Government’s record investment in community sports and active recreation infrastructure to more than $1.05 billion since 2014.
The $13.5 million investment into the Community Cricket Program helps address a range of facility challenges and the needs of cricket participants across Victoria. The program has a strong emphasis on supporting the development of cricket facilities that seek to increase participation among disadvantaged communities and support the inclusion of women and girls and other under-represented groups, while boosting local economic activity.
Victoria is the home of cricket and women and girls have signed up in record numbers, with female participants now making up 27 per cent of total participants in Victoria. It has never been more important to invest in cricket facilities and the Community Cricket Program reflects the Andrews Labor Government’s commitment to securing the many benefits of cricket participation and supporting all Victorians to achieve better health, wellbeing, social, and economic outcomes.
The 2019–20 round of the program provided more than $1.4 million to support 15 projects, across Victoria, including the installation of a new automatic irrigation system at Warringa Reserve in Hoppers Crossing.
The 2020–21 round of the Community Facilities stream of the Community Cricket Program is now open and applications close on 1 February 2021. All Local Government Authorities and Alpine Resort Boards are eligible to apply and I encourage those from the Western Metropolitan Region to review the program guidelines for detailed grant information and eligibility. The 2020–21 program guidelines are available on Sport and Recreation Victoria’s website and my department is happy to work with any Local Government Authorities who are interested in applying to the Community Cricket Program.
We are also progressing the Metropolitan Cricket and Community Centres stream by inviting five Local Government Authorities, including two from the Western Metropolitan Region, to submit proposals to develop metropolitan cricket centres to support all aspects of cricket participation including casual play, local and state competitions and the development of professional athlete skills and pathways.
I look forward to seeing many exciting proposals come through the Community Cricket Program in 2021 to ensure Victoria remains Australia’s cricket capital.