Member for Bathurst and NSW Deputy Premier Paul Toole has been joined by NSW Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronnie Taylor to announce funding of $528,850 for the Bathurst Bushrangers Aussie Rules Football Club.
The announcement is recognition of the importance of the role women play in sport and will see the construction of dedicated change rooms for female competitors at the George Park sporting precinct.
Mr Toole said the project includes four new change rooms, each with lockable shower and toilet cubicles.
“There will also be an umpire’s room, also with lockable shower and toilet cubicles, as well as a storage room,” he said.
“The improvements to facilities at George Park are part of the latest wave of projects from the Stronger Country Communities Fund (SCCF) being rolled out by the NSW Government to deliver new and upgraded facilities, infrastructure and programs that make a big difference to everyday life in the bush.”
Mr Toole said SCCF delivers guaranteed investment in every single regional LGA in NSW, and has seen $500 million invested across more than 1900 local projects since 2017.
“About half of this latest $100 million round will deliver 189 female sporting projects, including the construction or upgrade of female changerooms, additional amenity blocks and bathrooms, and playing surfaces like netball and tennis courts.”
Minister for Women Bronnie Taylor said the female sporting amenities projects backed by round four of the SCCF would make it easier for women and girls to be a part of their local sports team.
“Better facilities and support programs that encourage greater female participation at all levels and across all sporting codes will go a long way to levelling the playing field for women,” Mrs Taylor said.
“Many of Australia’s elite female athletes started their career in regional NSW and we want to give the next generation every opportunity to discover, develop and hone their skills and prowess.
“It is so important that our female athletes have somewhere to change before and after training or on game day, instead of having to call in at home after work or getting dressed in a parked car.”
President of the Bathurst Bushrangers AFL Club James King said the club is tremendously excited about the announcement of funding that will further support the development of women’s AFL in Bathurst and the Central West region.
“The current facilities at the George Park precinct have only two change rooms with internal showers and toilets. These facilities were built prior to there being a women’s AFL competition in the Central West,” he said.
“Since these facilities were developed, female participation in Bathurst has expanded to more than 100 players across two clubs, each represented by a senior women’s and girls’ youth side (four teams in total).
“This facility is required to ensure that game days are run efficiently between fixtured male and female matches.
“The construction of this facility, designed to accommodate our female players, further demonstrates to the community of Bathurst that the AFL values their participation and, with the players being well catered for both on and off the field, we aim to encourage greater player participation in our wonderful sport.”