WACA: Infrastructure upgrades providing equal facilities for all

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Photo Credit: Western Australian Cricket Association

We are celebrating the exciting growth of cricket for women and girls as part of Australian Cricket’s Women and Girls Week.

Girls and women across the State are playing more than ever before and contributing at all levels through umpiring, coaching and administration.

With this growth, comes a need for more and improved facilities, so it is timely this week that the next round of Australian Cricket Infrastructure Funding is now open.

The Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund (ACIF) will provide up to $5 million to community facility projects in 2023-24, representing cricket’s continued commitment to infrastructure funding.

Cricket Australia, in partnership with WA Cricket, is committed to developing quality facilities that provide a welcoming environment for all participants, officials, volunteers, and spectators.

Western Australia saw a 23% increase in girls playing Woolworths Cricket Blast and 17% growth in overall girls registration over the 2022-23 season, and those numbers are continuing to grow as we begin the 2023-24 season, so ensuring women and girls are at the forefront of our infrastructure decisions is vital.

Previously funded projects include Bunbury’s Forrest Park Pavilion, Armadale’s Gwynne Park Pavilion, and Newman’s Emu Oval Lights, which all had a focus on improving facilities for young women and girls.

Forrest Park Pavilion is due to be completed within the next year and will include new female changerooms and a fully accessible facility.

The existing structure has been demolished, making way for a brand new pavilion with a function room, kitchen and bar, public toilets, umpire rooms, medical room, and a storage area.

It will increase participation in sport by providing a high standard facility with larger capacity for training, player and coaching development, and an enhanced spectator experience.

Gwynne Park Pavilion currently houses the Armadale Cricket Club in summer and the Armadale Football Club in winter as well as being used for indoor sports and numerous sporting events year-round.

The pavilion is located in the Gwynne Park Reserve which is the City of Armadale’s largest recreation reserve.

The current facilities are over 50 years old and will be transformed to include four all-gender changerooms, club room space, a function room, and further amenity areas to optimise the use of the pavilion by all user groups.

The Emu Oval Lights project (pictured above. Photo: Shire of East Pilbara) was essential to hold night games for the Newman Cricket Association and Newman Junior Cricket Association.

With sweltering day temperatures in the Shire of East Pilbara, the $370,000 lighting upgrade now allows the entire community cricket pathway to play under lights in cooler conditions.

Before the lights were installed, women’s games were played during the day in extreme heat.

This project was jointly funded by the Shire of East Pilbara, the ACIF and through the State Government Club Night Lights Program which provides financial assistance to community groups and local governments to develop sports floodlighting infrastructure.

WA Cricket Infrastructure and Local Government Relations Manager Brodie Green says the ACIF is the perfect opportunity for clubs and councils to ensure they are providing adequate facilities for all.

“We encourage all local clubs and councils to take a look at their existing infrastructure and see if it is meeting the needs of their members,” Green said.

“Most older structures don’t have the facilities needed for young women or people with a disability, and the ACIF is designed to assist local clubs and councils in upgrading their facilities to meet the needs of today.

“Your local cricket managers are a great first point of call to start a conversation about the possibilities and how to proceed with an application.”

Local Government Minister David Michael urged WA local governments to consider applying for the ACIF to ensure the communities they served had the sporting facilities they deserved.

“I started my career in local government as a councilor in 2005 at the age of 25 because I saw the need for upgraded facilities at my local cricket club, so it’s an issue that is close to my heart,” he said.

The ACIF is open to all clubs, associations, schools, councils, and cricket facility managers, with applications accepted until 17 March 2024.

To find out more or apply now, click here.

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