Willetton Basketball Stadium expansion in jeopardy

Tagney MHR Ben Morton, Acting PM Mathias Cormann and Willetton Basketball Association's Phil Nixon
Tagney MHR Ben Morton, Acting PM Mathias Cormann and Willetton Basketball Association's Phil Nixon

AN $11 million planned expansion of the Willetton Basketball Stadium seems to be in jeopardy with the State Government only committing $1.5 million.

The Federal Government promised to cover half the project cost, and the Willetton Basketball Association sought $2.25 million from the State, above its $2 million cap.

A spokesman for the Department of Sport and Recreation said the Community Sporting and Recreational Facilities Fund (CSRFF) was an extremely competitive funding program.

“The maximum grant available under the CSRFF program was $2 million. The Willetton Basketball Club received the equal largest grant in the funding round of $1.5 million.”

But the Association’s Phil Nixon said today’s announcement meant it could not commit to the project, given there was a shortfall of $750,000.

“The WA Government was aware the costs of the project had been stripped back to essential features to function effectively with four more courts and anything less than the $2 million we sought from them will lessen our ability to deliver the expansion,” Mr Nixon said.

The Association’s board will review their options, keen to still make the expansion a reality.

The reduced amount may also affect the Federal Government contribution as it committed to $5.5 million, or 50 per cent of the project value.

“It has taken us nine years to raise our $800,000 towards the project value, so we have limited capacity to find any extra funds required to meet the shortfall we now face,” Mr Nixon said.

Acting Prime Minister Mathias Cormann visited the Stadium at Tagney MHR Ben Morton’s request on the weekend.

Mr Morton expressed his disappointment in the CSRFF funding announcement on his Facebook page this morning and committed to help the Association get the project done some way, somehow.

“I am really quite disappointed in the State Government. I fought really hard for the Federal Government to fund 50 per cent of the total project cost and we were super excited when the Federal Government agreed to commit $5.5 million to the project,” Mr Morton said.

“The council has done the right thing with its funding and the local association has done great with its fundraising.

“Two million from the State Government would have made this project a reality.

“The State Government is short-changing the association by only providing $1.5 million, this means that we can’t celebrate today that the project will go ahead, and if it does not go ahead the Federal funding will disappear.”

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