BENDIGO Tennis Association chief executive Leon Retallick’s vision for the future of tennis in Bendigo reached a milestone on Friday.
The Federal Minister for Regional Australia Catherine King announced $5.2 million towards the redevelopment of the Bendigo Regional Tennis Facility, regardless of whether the party wins power at the September 7 election.
Mr Retallick said this announcement was superb for Bendigo.
“The project we are proposing is about a $7 million redevelopment, with the federal government kicking in $5.2 million,” he said.
“It is a pretty reasonable allotment of money that we require to make this vision come to fruition. Outside of Melbourne Park, Bendigo will be one of the leading facilities in Victoria and regional Australia.”
The project will fund new show court facilities with spectator seating for 900, the redevelopment of the events and community hub building, and the upgrade of four courts to Australian grand slam standard.
Ms King said the new facility would deliver a strong future for the Bendigo community.
“Sport plays an important role in the lives of regional Victorians,” she said.
“This facility will give regional Australians the opportunity to pursue their sporting ambitions without having to leave their home town.”
City of Greater Bendigo mayor Lisa Ruffell said the Bendigo Tennis Club’s membership base would double to more than 2000 after this funding announcement.
Tennis Australia board member and former Australian Davis Cup captain John Fitzgerald said it was a great day for tennis in this country.
“This announcement is a major step in creating a wonderful regional venue,” he said.
“I have played in Bendigo, my son has played in Bendigo and I think this announcement will help bring families back into tennis.
“Hopefully our sport will soon be at the top of the list.”
Labor candidate for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said the project was a big win for the community. “The expanded, revamped facility will be the envy of the region, boosting Bendigo’s potential to attract and maintain regional and national tennis events,” she said.
Liberal candidate for Bendigo Greg Bickley said he supported the tennis centre upgrade.
“Any improvements to infrastructure are a good thing,” he said. “I would question the motives of this funding announcement.
“After 14 years of Labor inaction on infrastructure spending in Bendigo today, two weeks out from an election, we see this funding commitment along with Labor’s scrambled response to the Coalition’s strong commitment to upgrading the Calder.”