Victorian Acting Premier James Merlino; Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula, and Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams today announced an investment of $101.1 million into a state-of-the-art facility at La Trobe University’s Sports Park in Bundoora – a key component of the University City of the Future.
This investment is in addition to the Commonwealth Government’s earlier commitment of $15 million towards the construction of the new home of the Matildas in Victoria.
- The facility will be the Victorian base for Football Federation Australia’s national women’s programs and the home of the Matildas, and the State Centre for Football Victoria.
- It will also house the State Centre for Rugby Victoria with training and administration space for programs including the Melbourne Rebels’ Super W team.
- Construction begins in late 2021 to ensure the Home of the Matildas is completed in advance of Australia’s hosting of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- Grassroots clubs will have access to the centre’s pitches and community-level programs, including training for volunteers and administrators, referees and coaches conducted on-site.
- As part of the commitment, pitch use will be offered to community clubs at a discounted rate, and La Trobe students will enjoy free access to the facilities for around 20 hours a week.
- The new development will provide valuable industry experience for La Trobe students, enhancing employment opportunities.
- The high-performance sport programs for women in both football and rugby on site will also allow La Trobe’s world-class sport science researchers to work with these athletes and their coaches to develop new approaches to player development, injury prevention and high-performance training programs.
Acting Premier James Merlino said, “We can’t wait to cheer on the Matildas at the World Cup in Melbourne in 2023 – and with this investment, we’ll give our female soccer stars a world class home in the heart of Melbourne.
“When we say we’re serious about improving the visibility of our female athletes – we mean it. Not only will this investment deliver new facilities, it will mean more young soccer fans get to see their heroes up close.”
La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Dewar AO thanked the Victorian Government and Commonwealth Government for their generous support in enabling the University’s Sports Park to become home to Australia’s most prestigious women’s sporting teams.
“To have some of the world’s very best professional women’s sports teams housed in this exceptional new development at La Trobe’s Sports Park will be a huge boost for our students, for sports science research, and for the community in Melbourne’s north,” Professor Dewar said.
“This new development will provide unique opportunities for our students – especially our female students – to gain valuable industry experience supporting high performance programs designed for women, opening up opportunities for employment in the growing field of women’s elite and professional sport. It will provide additional industry training opportunities for our students in sport science, sport coaching and sport management that will, in turn, support the growth of Football Victoria’s and Rugby Victoria’s development programs focused on women and girls.”
About the new facilities
- Once complete, the facilities will span 15 hectares and will include separate Centres of Excellence for Football Victoria and Rugby Victoria, with shared common access, parking and public amenity facilities. The site will include:
- A marquee pitch with grandstand seating, four other pitches, and high-performance facilities including a gymnasium and wet recovery area, medical and rehabilitation centre, meeting areas and player lounge.
- The Victorian State Rugby Centre will boast a show pitch with grandstand seating and two additional pitches, along with high performance facilities including a gymnasium, sport science, medical and recovery areas and a training and match day home for the Melbourne Rebels’ Super W team.
- The $116 million project will support more than 600 jobs during construction and is expected to attract around 1,000 visitors to the area per week (3,000+ during major events).