$30m secured for regional basketball stadium
22nd March 2023
JOINT STATEMENT FROM NEWCASTLE BASKETBALL, GREG PIPER MP and NEWCASTLE CITY COUNCIL
Newcastle Basketball, City of Newcastle and the State Member for Lake Macquarie Greg Piper have today announced a new $30 million basketball stadium will be built in Newcastle.
The NSW Government will fund the construction of the regional level, indoor basketball facility in Newcastle after committing an additional $5 million to a previous $25 million commitment for what was then intended to be a new stadium on Hillsborough Road, Charlestown.
The new facility will be built on a Crown Land site managed by City of Newcastle opposite McDonald Jones Stadium in Broadmeadow. The ten-court stadium will be built in two stages; stage one seeing the construction of up to eight courts, and stage two including a show court for 2,000 spectators.
Independent Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper who secured the additional funding from the NSW Government, called on NSW Labor to match the extra $5 million.
"This will be a fantastic indoor sports stadium, not just for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie but for the whole Hunter Region and Port Stephens," Mr Piper said.
"I’ve had a number of meetings with my NSW Government colleagues about the project and I’m very happy that they’ve listened and committed the additional funding needed for this first-class facility, which will be a massive boost for local and regional sport.
“During the past four years, construction costs have soared by more than 20%, and it’s only fair that the Newcastle basketball community not see a reduction in real funding for this much-needed new stadium.
"With the NSW election just days away we need to ensure this project will progress regardless of the outcome at the polls, so I'm calling on the Labor Party to match my and the NSW Government's commitment, which equates to an extra $1 million from each of the five Labor MPs whose communities will directly benefit from this regional level stadium."
Newcastle Basketball President Kristi Faber said the new stadium will be one of the largest in Australia and will serve its massive catchment of Newcastle, Port Stephens and Lake Macquarie.
"Basketball is the fourth most popular sport in Australia in terms of participation, with registration numbers in Newcastle almost doubling in the past two years," Ms Faber said.
"The only thing preventing further growth is our existing stadium beside Broadmeadow Train Station, which is 53 years old and just too small to cater for player demand.
“Because we only have four full-sized and two junior-sized courts, all our competitions are capped and registrations for all competitions and programs typically fill within a week. We are turning kids away literally every week of the year.
"This funding allows elite and amateur basketball to remain in Newcastle, which is the geographical centre of our catchment. The new site on Turton Road has great public transport links, and ample accommodation and hospitality venues to support national tournaments that will now come to Newcastle."
Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the proposed development immediately across from Hunter Park would deliver significant sporting infrastructure for the community.
"For more than half a century Newcastle has been the physical and spiritual home of basketball in this region, with a proud tradition of developing players who have gone on to represent the sport at the highest level," Cr Nelmes said.
"But Newcastle Basketball's ability to meet the demand for the sport in the region has been constrained by the ageing stadium at Broadmeadow, which is no longer fit for purpose as local basketball booms in popularity.
"The proposed development will deliver a significant, multi-sport facility that will not only cater for the city's thriving basketball community but will provide expanded opportunities for netball, wheelchair sports, volleyball, school sports and futsal.
"It will also provide a facility that allows Newcastle to finally have a team in the Women’s National Basketball League.
“Newcastle will have a venue capable of not only hosting a professional women’s team, but also state and national basketball tournaments, which will increase tourism and deliver positive economic benefits for local businesses."
The Crown Land site is home to Wallarah and Blackley Ovals, is owned by the NSW Government and is managed by City of Newcastle.
City of Newcastle Acting Executive Director Creative and Community Services Lynn Duffy said City of Newcastle was preparing a precinct plan for the surrounding sportsgrounds including Arthur Edden Oval, Ford Oval, Kentish Oval and Harker Oval, to ensure ongoing and equitable access to and best utilisation of sporting facilities.
"City of Newcastle will work closely with the sporting groups and other stakeholders who currently use Wallarah and Blackley Ovals to see local training and club games continue with minimal disruption," Ms Duffy said.
The catchment of Newcastle Basketball includes the state electorates of Lake Macquarie, Swansea, Newcastle, Charlestown, Wallsend and Port Stephens.
The new Stadium was originally proposed to be built on Hillsborough Rd Charlestown but was refused by the Hunter and Central Coast Regional Planning Panel in May last year on multiple grounds.