State Member for Williamstown Wade Noonan joined Sports Minister John Eren and Hobsons Bay Mayor Angela Altair to announce a funding partnership that will see upgrades to facilities at Fearon Reserve in Williamstown and Paisley Park in Altona North.
Speaking on the funding partnership between the State Government and Hobsons Bay City Council, Wade Noonan said the ‘stunning’ announcement will see female-friendly facilities at both venues, with the upgrades a tribute to the work of the late Fiona Richardson.
“This is a day to remember. This is the sort of day that comes along one in a generation. To my colleague, John Eren, He’s not a stranger to this part of the world. In fact, he’s been back many times. It’s a stunning announcement that John’s made today,” Mr Noonan said.
“When you think about public life, it’s pretty tough. For every decision that you make, there are ten people who are unhappy with it, but the one thing that John has proven time and time again is his commitment particularly not just to grassroots sport but to equality.”
“Both of us were very good friends with the late Fiona Richardson who was the Minister for Women. Fiona had a pretty simple mantra about looking at every opportunity across government to ensure that women can increasingly participate in every part of society.”
“I want to thank John because I think one of the strongest legacies of this government and of John’s contribution to our government has been to ensure that these sorts of funds are available in order to improve the participation of women and girls playing sport.”
Also speaking on the work that Hobsons Bay City Council had done in helping gain access to the female friendly facilities funding, Wade Noonan noted that two applications had been made in his electorate, and two applications had been successful.
“I want to thank the Council. I think announcements like this only happen on strength of partnerships. We have been working very closely with (the Council) to ensure wherever the opportunity presents to gain some funds in partnership we do that,” Mr Noonan said.
“This is what happens when you have State Government working very closely with the Council to deliver this, and I’ve had a wonderful opportunity to work with my colleagues here today to talk about how we can cater for sport, whatever the code is.”
“When I think about the female friendly facilities fund, two applications made in my electorate and two successful today, so well done to the Council as well.”
Multiple sporting clubs welcomed the news, including the Williamstown CYMS Football Club, Williamstown Seagulls FIDA Football Club, Williamstown CYMS Cricket Club, Williamstown Imperials Cricket Club, Altona Magic Soccer Club and Altona East Soccer Club.
In acknowledging the club, Wade Noonan said it was not just the boys, girls, men and women who play the sport who will benefit from the funding announcement, but everyone who volunteers so that those who play can enjoy the sport they love.
“Thank you to the clubs, to all the clubs, not just for what you’ve been able to achieve here, but the legacy that you will leave for generations of boys and girls, men and women,” Mr Noonan said.
“I counted up across the six clubs 900 participants across those six clubs and I reckon if I came back in a year it would probably be a thousand, so thank you one and all for the work that you go.”
“Finally, thank you to the boys and girls, the men and women who play the games, whether its soccer, whether its AFL, whether it’s cricket.”
“I learnt all of my life skills from playing sport and I still use those today, but what is most critical is that those who volunteer their hours, who couch, who carry the drinks, that they have the facilities so that you can enjoy the sport that you love.”
“I’m so proud that some of you can be here today to witness this moment because moments like these only come along once every 30 or 40 years, and I can’t wait to come back and see the finished products.”
It is understood the redevelopments will entail the removal of existing open shower halls and urinals and will install cubicle toilets and showers, with the Paisley Park redevelopment to also see internal walls repainted and a new sports flooring surface fitted.
Also present for the announcement was Labor Candidate for Williamstown Melissa Horne who said the female friendly facilities fund is part of almost half a billion dollars in the Victorian Budget committed to encouraging all Victorians to get out there and get active.
“Only Labor delivers for the West. We are working to overcome the barriers for girls participating in sport through dedicated change rooms and new facilities,” Ms Horne said.