Media Release by The Hon Bill Shorten MP

Strathewen recreation reserve to be rebuilt

A new partnership between the Rudd and Brumby governments and the private sector will help transform Strathewen through the redevelopment of Strathewen Recreation Reserve to feature a top-quality sports hub, the Acting Premier Rob Hulls announced today.

In Strathewen, Mr Hulls said the Rudd and Brumby governments would join commercial developer Australand in a community partnership worth more than $700,000 to build a sports pavilion and new cricket and tennis facilities.

‘Our Government will continue to stand by bushfire-affected communities as the recover, rebuild and move forward after the worst natural disaster in our nation’s history,’ Mr Hulls said.

‘The Strathewen Cougars Cricket Club and Strathewen Tennis Club, like many sports clubs, are the heart of their community and provide a great place for families and friends to get together.

‘Today’s announcement is a significant step forward for the people of Strathewen and also a great example of how the private sector and governments can partner to deliver projects that help to rebuild and support our fire-affected communities.

‘This is one of the largest donations received by bushfire-affected areas and involves Australand contractors and suppliers donating their time, materials and skills to ensure that sport can have a home in Strathewen. I congratulate Australand for its generous offer to build the new community sport and recreation pavilion free of charge.’

Bushfire-affected communities have also been working together to identify local rebuilding and recovery priorities for the future, with 30 community recovery plans in the process of being submitted to the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority for consideration.

These plans will be assessed against priorities for funding, which will form part of a statewide plan for reconstruction and recovery, to be released later this year.

Mr Hulls was joined by Australand representatives, Sports Minister James Merlino and Commonwealth Parliamentary Secretary for Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction Bill Shorten to inspect the Strathewen Recreation Reserve today.

Australand is contributing in excess of $500,000 through donated materials and labour towards the Strathewen Recreation Reserve project. The Rudd and Brumby Governments are providing $200,000 from the $3 million set aside under the $10 million Community Recovery Fund to support sporting clubs in fire-affected communities to recover.

On Black Saturday, 27 people in Strathewen lost their lives, many homes were destroyed as were all the town’s community facilities, including Strathewen Primary School, Community Hall and Recreation Reserve Pavilion.

Mr Shorten said redeveloping the Strathewen Recreation Reserve was an important part of the town and community’s recovery.

‘The Rudd Government has been working with the Brumby Government and local councils and directing significant support to the bushfire-affected communities from day one,’ Mr Shorten said.

‘The residents of Strathewen have shown amazing strength and commitment since the fires, and I am delighted that we are able to help fund this important community facility.’

Development of master plan for the reserve is underway in conjunction with Sport and Recreation Victoria, Nillumbik Shire Council, Australand, VBRRA, Tennis Victoria, Cricket Victoria and local sporting clubs. The facility design and reserve master plan is the result of extensive community consultation with the community, lead by the Strathewen Community Rebuilding Committee.

Mr Merlino said the new Strathewen Recreation Reserve would support the community to recover and rebuild by ensuring ensure locals had a place to gather and play the sports so important to their local community life.

‘Sports clubs and facilities, like Strathewen Reserve, provide a wonderful place for friends and families to get together and enjoy participation in their chosen sport and often these sport clubs become the heart of the community,’ Mr Merlino said.

Member for Seymour Ben Hardman said the partnership provided a boost for the community.

‘We understand how important the role local sports clubs play to help devastated communities get their lives back on track and that’s why we have committed this funding to ensure the club continues to be at the heart of this community,’ Mr Hardman said.

Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green said it was a win for local grassroots sports in the area.