Netball facilities should be upgraded or built to meet national standards, a draft report recommends.
Netball Victoria is poised to release a statewide facilities strategy before the year’s end.
Development priorities in the final draft include upgrading courts and ensuring facilities are developed to meet national standards; improving accessibility to venues, change rooms and amenities; and installing lighting.
The draft also identifies a need for shelters for players and officials.
Facility audits and consultations with local government and affiliated netball associations have informed the strategy, which will include regional facility profiles.
The Loddon Mallee region contains 128 netball venues and 331 netball courts.
Eight are classified as ‘regional venues’, having eight or more courts.
Ten are sub-regional venues, with four to seven courts, and 110 are local venues, with up to three courts.
The Loddon Mallee region is divided into two parts: north and south.
Buloke, Gannawarra, Mildura and Swan Hill shires are classified as Loddon Mallee North, and have the highest rate of netball participation in Victoria.
A total of 5033 people, 5.6 per cent of the population, play the sport.
An additional 471 people in Loddon Mallee North are expected to become Netball Victoria members in 10 years.
Greater Bendigo, Central Goldfields, Loddon, Macedon Ranges and Mount Alexander form Loddon Mallee South.
Netballers account for 3.4 per cent of the population, with 6572 participants.
Loddon Mallee South’s netball community is expected to welcome 1722 new members in the coming 10 years.
A total of 47,600 of Netball Victoria’s 111,376 registered members live in rural and regional Australia.
The draft strategy includes four key strategic priorities: planning and development of facilities, existing facilities, new facilities, and catering for the needs of all levels of the sport, from grassroots games to elite pathway programs.
New facilities are recommended to address current deficits and to satisfy the demand in growth areas.
Criticism about the “primitive” facilities for netballers at the Queen Elizabeth Oval in Bendigo has highlighted a need to improve sporting facilities in central Victoria.