Adjournment Matters No 1136
59 Parliament First Session
Asked: 18 February 2021


MS LOVELL — To ask the Minister for Local Government (for the Minister for Community Sport): 

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Community Sport and seeks a funding commitment to improve infrastructure at the Katunga Cricket Club. The action that I seek from the minister is to ensure a funding commitment of $150 000 is included in the state budget to fund the construction of a new practice cricket net for the Katunga Cricket Club at the Katunga Recreation Reserve. The Katunga Cricket Club is based at the Katunga Recreation Reserve and shares co-tenancy of the ground with the local football and tennis clubs. The reserve is the hub of the Katunga community and is also utilised by the local CFA, the CWA and students from the nearby Katunga Primary School. The cricket club competes in the Murray Valley Cricket Association, where it fields senior teams in B grade and C grade as well as two under-12 teams. Based in a small country town, the club is very family orientated and welcoming, and currently has in its playing ranks several players who suffer from autism and one with cerebral palsy.

The facilities at the cricket club were built in the 1980s and have received no improvements or upgrades since construction. In particular the club wishes to upgrade their practice cricket nets area. Their current nets are in such poor condition that only two of the three wickets are able to be used. The terrible state of their training facilities has seen the cricket club lose players to other nearby clubs who boast better facilities. Three years ago the club fielded seven teams across six competitions, including a team in the female competition, but now fields teams in just three competitions. As well as losing players, Katunga Cricket Club struggles to recruit new players to the club, thus affecting the club’s ability to field competitive teams each week.

The cricket club has tried for many years to obtain funding to upgrade their cricket nets, and the project is now included as a high priority item in the Moira Shire Council’s Katunga Recreation Reserve and Community Centre Strategic and Master Plan. The construction of these new practice cricket nets has been costed at $150 000, and I call on the minister to support this grassroots local sporting club and fund this upgrade. The action that I seek from the minister is to ensure a funding commitment of $150 000 is included in the state budget to fund the construction of new practice cricket nets for the Katunga Cricket Club at the Katunga Recreation Reserve.

Answered: 16 March 2021

Ms SPENCE (Yuroke—Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Community Sport, Minister for Youth):

I thank the Member for Northern Victoria Region for her question. Providing high quality community sport and recreation infrastructure is a key aim of the Andrews Labor Government and is integral to the health and wellbeing of all Victorians. Initiatives announced in the 2020–21 State Budget bring the Andrews Labor Government’s record investment in community sports infrastructure to more than $1.05 billion since 2014. More than $1.6 million of this investment has been directed to Moira Shire.

Cricket clubs like Katunga Cricket Club are the lifeblood of our communities, and the Andrews Labor Government is committed to ensuring cricket participation in Victoria remains higher than any other state and that cricketers have access to high-quality, welcoming facilities.

The Andrews Labor Government’s  Community Cricket Program is a state-wide competitive investment program that provides funding to develop cricket facilities that support participation and inclusion of women and girls and other under-represented groups, while also boosting local economic activity. The Andrews Labor Government’s commitment to cricket aligns strongly with Cricket Victoria’s 2017–2022 facility strategy  The Journey Ahead for Victorian Cricket.

I am advised that Moira Shire applied to the  2019–2020 Community Cricket Program for the Katunga Reserve project, however the application was unsuccessful. Sport and Recreation Victoria has discussed the outcome of the application with Council and will continue to support Council to develop the proposal. I note that Moira Shire did not apply for the most recent round of the  Community Cricket Program, which closed in February 2021.

I encourage Katunga Cricket Club to continue working with Moira Shire to develop this project for a future funding opportunity so that the Katunga community can enjoy all the benefits of participation in community sport.