THE state government has committed to building a $25-million indoor sports stadium in Lake Macquarie if re-elected at the March 23 poll.
The 10-court facility would be built at Hillsborough on 6.7 hectares of land donated by Lake Macquarie City Council.
The 4000-seat stadium would cater primarily for basketball, and is expected to become the home for a team in the Women's National Basketball League.
But the facility would also accommodate netball, wheelchair sports, volleyball, school sports and futsal.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, said the stadium would replace Newcastle Basketball's 50-year-old base in Broadmeadow which was no longer fit for purpose.
“A re-elected NSW Liberals and Nationals Government will deliver Newcastle and the Hunter a first-class indoor sports stadium,” Mr MacDonald said.
“This new facility will become the home for Newcastle Basketball and support other indoor sport codes.
“I acknowledge the strong and sustained advocacy by Greg Piper MP who recognises the value of a world-class indoor sports facility for the region.”
Newcastle Basketball general manager Neil Goffet said the funding commitment was exciting news.
“Our current facility is not fit for future development, so to have a commitment like this is amazing and we look forward to it being started as soon as possible,” Mr Goffet said.
Last October, councillors voted unanimously to enter into an agreement with the city’s basketball association to set aside the 6.7 hectares of council-owned land next to the Newcastle inner-city bypass.
At the council meeting, Cr Kevin Baker (Liberal) said attracting a “world-class” basketball centre would be a “coup” for Lake Macquarie.
On Thursday, Liberal candidate for the seat of Lake Macquarie, Lindsay Paterson, said the stadium would build on the city's capability to attract and host elite sporting events.
“This facility will complement the recently announced second stage of the Speers Point Regional Football facility, ensuring the Lake Macquarie region can effectively cater for outdoor and indoor sports into the future,” Mr Paterson said.
Member for Lake Macquarie, Greg Piper, welcomed the funding commitment and said the benefits from the stadium would be far reaching.
“This will be a fantastic indoor sports stadium, not just for Lake Macquarie but for the whole Hunter Region,” Mr Piper said.
“I’ve had a number of meetings with the Premier and Scot MacDonald about this project over the past year and I’m very happy that they’ve listened and committed the funding.
“I must acknowledge Lake Macquarie City Council which will be donating the required land, but I also want to congratulate Neil Goffet and everyone at Newcastle Basketball for undertaking this project and seeing such great opportunity in Lake Macquarie.”