CIVIC leaders are celebrating the Marshall Liberal Government’s $10m commitment towards City Council’s multi-million dollar Community and Recreation Hub.
Premier Steven Marshall said the proposed multi-complex hub would boost the Mount Gambier economy and drive the State Government’s ambition to see population growth in the state’s largest regional city.
“This is a project which has been on the drawing board and community priority list for more than 30 years and the Liberal Government is proud to support this important social infrastructure,” Premier Marshall said.
“The council met me recently and made a compelling case regarding the many benefits to Mount Gambier and the Limestone Coast region of the proposed aquatic, sporting and events facility.
“If we want to drive growth and encourage people to live and raise a family in regional South Australia, it is important to have access to first class facilities.”
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone visited Mount Gambier to announce the funding Thursday evening.
“Regional South Australia is the backbone to our economy and the Marshall Liberal Government has established a $150m 10-year Regional Growth Fund to foster employment opportunities and investment in the regions,” Minister Whetstone said.
“The community and recreation hub will provide premium facilities to attract state and national competitions as well as conferences to Mount Gambier which will help open up the region to additional visitation.
“The State Government recognises the hub is strongly supported by the community, with almost 72pc of participating residents voting in favour of the plan in a recent survey.
“The $10m commitment further demonstrates our government’s commitment to regional South Australia.”
The State Government funds are contingent on the project receiving $15m from the Commonwealth Government.
Regional Sport and Recreation Centre Committee presiding member Ben Hood said the $25m co-contribution was the “biggest injection of funds into the city, if not the region”.
“This is a huge boom for Mount Gambier and real investment into the future,” he said.
“Mount Gambier obviously has been recognised by the Federal and State governments that we as a region has huge potential and we do lift well above our weight.
“The massive funding contributions from both governments is testament to their commitment to the regions.”
Cr Hood said the overwhelming community vote, which saw twothirds of returned elector surveys vote up the proposal, buoyed council’s business case.
“The 72pc vote shows there is support for this within the commuouncil has a real mandate to deliver the project,” he said.
“Looking at the statistics of the votes, there was a huge number of yes votes from people between 25 to 45 years of age.
“I think it shows that age bracket is really invested in the future of Mount Gambier and is probably why they voted more in this poll.”
Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the funding announcement was a “great example of all levels of government working together for local communities”.
“It is also a clear indication that to Liberal governments, regions matter.
“Over the past 10 months we have seen a vastly different approach to the regions from our State Government and today’s announcement is one such example.”
“There is no doubt that Liberal governments at a state and federal level are working together to deliver for regional communities, because we know that by investing in regional communities with projects like this we are helping deliver social and economic benefits that will keep our regional communities great places to live and work into the future.
“If we were not in the economic position we are thanks to Liberal Government’s plan to grow the economy, funding in this project may not have been possible.”
Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell welcomed the funding as “fantastic” news for the city and congratulated the State Government - in particular Premier Marshall and Mr Whetstone - for their efforts.
“This hub will be a major community asset that will benefit our city for generations to come,” he said.
“This funding shows a commitment from the State Government towards the future prosperity of our region.
“Recently, we have seen millions of dollars invested into our region by the State Government, including the Mount Gambier Airport upgrade and STEM school upgrades and funding for entrepreneurial schools, the arts and forestry.
“A project of this size generates excitement and stimulates economic growth and opportunities for our community.”