THE election campaign has well and truly begun.
On Tuesday, the second day of the six-week-long campaign, federal Labor MP Lisa Chesters announced a $460,000 commitment to transform Strauch Reserve's junior oval into a usable space, creating a home for junior sport and community recreation in Huntly.
The oval in its current form is unfit for use - weeds sit waist height atop rock hard dirt.
The junior football and cricket clubs have been waiting 17 years for the upgrades and in the meantime have been using the senior ground for training.
It will also serve as an extra multipurpose green space for Huntly, with potential use by the Huntly Primary School, the Northern Bendigo Landcare Group and the Huntly Fire Brigade.
Jenni Griffin from the Strauch Reserve Junior Oval Redevelopment User Group said the lack of a junior oval for Huntly was an unfair disadvantage for the club.
"Our juniors will gain the opportunity afforded to most other clubs, a home ground we can call our own, engaging the great pride our club possesses and creating a clear pathway between juniors and seniors," she said.
Club secretary Jason Bawden welcomed the announcement, noting the dangers of sharing the senior oval.
"We're forced to go into the one oval," he said, "and it becomes dangerous when you've got eight junior sides and all the senior sides trying to train at the same time."
"When you've got under nine's running around the same time as seniors it's really dangerous."
The HFNC home games have often been in epsom or Quarry Hill, and Elliot Nasper from the Huntly senior side said that limited the pathways for the younger players.
"The ability for our senior players to be able to watch junior training and games hasn't been there," he said, "so it makes it hard to come together as one club and create pathways up to the seniors."
Ms Chesters said it was time to address Huntly's growing community.
"The substandard ground has been a barrier to growth for junior clubs - especially as more girls and women show interest in playing sport," she said
"Huntly is home to many families and young children who aspire to play sport or participate in other recreational activities and the area needs the green space to reflect that."
At this stage, Liberal candidate for Bendigo Darin Schade said he will not commit to matching the funding, however noted he "looks forward to making further announcements about how the Morrison Liberal Government will continue to deliver for Bendigo over the coming weeks."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.