History will be made on Saturday when Ballarat hosts its first ever AFL Premiership match between the Western Bulldogs and Port Adelaide.
Premier Daniel Andrews today joined Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard, Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight and Western Bulldogs President Peter Gordon at Mars Stadium Ballarat to see first-hand how Ballarat has gone barking mad with Bulldog footy fever and thank the tradies who helped make the stadium a reality.
Saturday’s game is the first in a five-year deal brokered by the Andrews Labor Government to bring AFL to regional Victoria. It will attract visitors from far and wide – boosting Ballarat’s thriving visitor economy and creating jobs.
Mars Stadium is part of the Labor Government’s $38.5 million investment in the Eureka Sports Precinct, which includes $9 million for extra courts at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre, $5 million for the Ballarat Showgrounds and $2.5 million for C E Brown Reserve.
The upgrades also include:
- A better playing surface with the same dimensions as Etihad Stadium
- Capacity for 11,000 spectators
- The new “Eureka Grandstand” with 5,000 undercover seats
- New 37 metre-tall light towers and a new 50 square-metre video scoreboard
The new stadium is expected to attract an extra 1,500 participants per year, boost visitor numbers by 21,000 people each year and increase annual local tourism spending by up to $3.6 million.
The redevelopment was backed by the Labor Government’s Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund, which is supporting major projects and industries and has helped generate more than 4,600 regional jobs.
Local Ballarat company Nicholson Construction completed the build and awarded more than 75 per cent of sub-contracting work to locally based suppliers. The stadium redevelopment created 30 new jobs during construction.
Quotes attributable to Premier Daniel Andrews
"We said we’d deliver a world class stadium and bring AFL to Ballarat – and that’s what we’ve done.”
“This brilliant new precinct will boost jobs, attract visitors and give locals a chance to see their sporting heroes right here in Ballarat.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Regional Development Jaala Pulford
“History will be made on Saturday with footy to be played for Premiership points in Ballarat for the first time. From jobs, to small businesses and eager footy fans, everyone is a winner.”
Quote attributable to Member for Wendouree Sharon Knight
"The new sports precinct is bringing AFL to Ballarat and attracting footy fans from across the country. It’s great for jobs and the visitor economy, and for our grassroots clubs.”
Quote attributable to Member for Buninyong Geoff Howard
“We’ve been counting down the days to the first bounce, but the wait is nearly over. Saturday’s game will be a real blockbuster for Ballarat with the reigning premiers fighting for the chance to play finals.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020