IT WAS the final piece in the funding puzzle that will see Tamworth’s long-awaited $17 million sporting precinct get off the ground – and help establish the region as a national sporting hub, according to mayor Col Murray.
During her first visit to Tamworth as NSW Premier at the weekend, Gladys Berejiklian announced the NSW government’s $4.25 million contribution to the Northern Inland Centre of Sporting Excellence.
The project includes building a new athletics facility, extending the existing Sports Dome to provide additional indoor multi-use courts, a new outdoor equestrian arena, and developing the Northern Inland NSW Cycling Centre, comprising a velodrome and criterion track – within the same precinct as AELEC, the Sports Dome and Hockey Complex.
Tamworth mayor Col Murray said the states’s commitment – on top of the federal government’s $8.5 million and council’s $4.25 million – was a positive sign the new premier would give regional NSW its fair share of the funding pie.
“It’s fantastic news for the region to host more regional and national finals, and also a really significant boost for the equine, cycling and other (sports) to get much-needed facilities,” Cr Murray said.
“The message for Tamworth is that they do take the Tamworth electorate seriously.”
The announcement comes on the back of calls for a new aquatic centre in Tamworth, but Cr Murray declared that project “will be for another day”.
Premier Berejiklian was joined by Deputy Premier John Barilaro, Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson and Cr Murray at the Sports Dome on Saturday, where she made the announcement.
“We acknowledge now that parts of the state want their fair share,” she said.
“I intend not to slow down on infrastructure, in fact we will go harder, and we are looking forward to seeing projects come to fruition.
“This funding is a major win for Tamworth and will deliver a boost to the local economy, jobs and tourism.”
Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson said he was looking forward to working with council to deliver the project promptly.
“This will help create local jobs and once complete will help drive the region’s economy further,” he said.
Cr Murray expected preliminary works to begin immediately, but stressed the tender process would be lengthy due to the significant amount of works.