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Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Page: 4412

Mr BYRNE (Holt) (16:09): I had the pleasure last month, on Saturday, 9 April, to officially open the latest state-of-the-art development at Casey Fields, the Casey Fields Regional Athletics Centre, on behalf of the Australian government. The first of many athletics and little athletics events took place under the centre's new floodlights, although the weather was fairly inclement. That was thanks to the funding contributions from the Commonwealth government, the Victorian government and the City of Casey. There is absolutely no doubt, particularly following the feedback from people that attended the opening ceremony, about the fact that this is going to be a central hub for athletics activities run by both little athletics and senior athletics clubs. Under this project the federal government invested more than $8.9 million through the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program.

It makes Casey Fields in Cranbourne—and I proudly say this—a premier and world-class athletics facility. This project continues. The federal government's investment in Cranbourne and the Casey region—which is the third-fastest growing area in Australia—continues. Already, $5 million has been spent on the state-of-the-art aquatic centre, which is a water harvesting facility. We have also spent $1 million investing in a new Casey Fields recreation and playground area, which was officially opened in December 2010. Importantly, particularly given the circumstances at the time when the federal government made the investment into Casey Fields, there were 100 jobs created during the construction of this particular project as a whole.

Casey Fields is located in Cranbourne East, which was once farm land. The site had been developed by the City of Casey over several years to become basically the premier outdoor facility in Melbourne—or one of them—and particularly in Melbourne's south-east. It has a football ground, tennis courts, a number of recreational facilities and now this world-class athletics facility on top of that. It is particularly well located, given the number of young people who live in the area. One of the great things about this official opening ceremony, particularly given the community support, was seeing Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman and also the 2010 Commonwealth bronze medallist Dale Stevenson at this event. It was particularly great seeing Cathy, given that she was shortly due to give birth to a child when she attended.

This athletics facility—and let me not understate it—is world class. It has a fantastic synthetic track, grandstand seating for 1,000 people, toilets, kiosks, first aid rooms, event control rooms, committee meeting rooms and a community room. It is a great facility. It is going to be used by the Cranbourne community. It is an icon in the south-east of Melbourne. (Time expired)