THE Coalition has promised $1.3 million for Wedderburn’s Donaldson Park Sporting Complex as the campaign for the crucial marginal seat of Ripon kicks off in earnest.
Liberal Member for Ripon Louise Staley visited the multi-use facility on Saturday to make the announcement, which provides the state contribution for the overall $3.5 million project.
The project involves removing the two existing buildings that host the harness racing club and football, netball and hockey clubs, and replacing them with one building with space to host all clubs.
The building will become a hub available for use by the Wedderburn community, and will contain a new kitchen, meeting room, kiosk, change rooms, first aid room, social rooms and an office.
Wedderburn Redbacks and Wedderburn Harness Racing committee president Sharyn Lockhart said the project had been years in the making, and it was promising to see more funding promised.
“The current facilities are fairly old and have been added onto, and added onto, over the years but you can really only do that to a certain extent,” she said.
“They are used regularly by the community as well as the footy, netball and hockey clubs.
“This funding goes a long way.”
Loddon Shire Council and the Wedderburn community will combine for $1 million, and the remaining $1.2 million is expected to come from the federal government if it gets on board.
Donaldson Park is instantly recognisable from the large redback spider painted on the roof. Ms Lockhart said painting a similar mural on the roof would be considered as the project progresses.
Ms Staley said the project will provide a “valuable sporting and community space”.
“Loddon Shire Council and the Wedderburn Community have been calling for this much-needed upgrade for years and it is great news that an elected Liberal Government will be able to deliver this project for them,” she said.
The electorate of Ripon, which includes Stawell in the west, Charlton in the north, Beaufort in the south and Maryborough in the east, is the most marginal regional electorate in Victoria, held by Ms Staley on a margin of 0.75 per cent.
A boundary change before the 2014 election turned it into a much more rural seat, helping the Liberal Party to win it from Labor.
The Coalition needs to pick up at least six seats to win the November election and cannot afford to lose any of its seats, giving Ripon added importance.
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