Friday, June 23, 2017
ED---Major-economic-tourism

Bid to host “The People’s Games”

David Lee April 19, 2017
A GAME CHANGER… From left, Independent Member for Shepparton District, Suzanna Sheed, with members of the newly formed bid ‘taskforce’ working group, former runner and current Athletics Australia board member, John Steffensen, Mitch Catlin, Heloise Pratt AM, Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Dinny Adem, former Swisse Wellness managing director and taskforce chair, Adem Karafili, deputy chair, Nick Holland and The Hon Jeanette Powell at the announcement last week that Shepparton will be included in a bid to joint host the 2030 Commonwealth Games. Photo: David Lee.

A GAME CHANGER… From left, Independent Member for Shepparton District, Suzanna Sheed, with members of the newly formed bid ‘taskforce’ working group, former runner and current Athletics Australia board member, John Steffensen, Mitch Catlin, Heloise Pratt AM, Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Dinny Adem, former Swisse Wellness managing director and taskforce chair, Adem Karafili, deputy chair, Nick Holland and The Hon Jeanette Powell at the announcement last week that Shepparton will be included in a bid to joint host the 2030 Commonwealth Games. Photo: David Lee.

SHEPPARTON, alongside ten other regional cities could be selected to joint host the 2030 Commonwealth Games, with a strong taskforce now aiming to carry out a feasibility study that is expected to cost millions of dollars, which will detail evidence to support the move.

As a first of a kind vision, the Greater Victorian Commonwealth Games would see venues for the 10 compulsory Commonwealth Games events include Greater Bendigo Indoor Aquatic Leisure Centre to host the Aquatics including Para-Swimming Events, Boxing at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports and Entertainment Complex in Traralgon, Hockey at Geelong Stead Park Hockey Centre, Netball at Ballarat Sports and Events Centre, Men’s and Women’s Rugby 7’s at Simonds Stadium in Geelong and Weightlifting and Para-Powerlifting at Gippsland Regional Indoor Sports and Entertainment Complex in Traralgon.

Shepparton would host the Athletics including Para-Athletic Events at the Shepparton Sports Precinct, Lawn Bowls including Para-Lawn Bowls at Shepparton Park Bowls Club and Squash at Shepparton Sports Stadium.

Preliminary ideas for venues of optional Commonwealth Games events also include Men’s Basketball at the Shepparton Sports Stadium, Triathlon at Victoria Park Lake in Shepparton, Women’s Basketball at Bendigo Stadium, Road Cycling at the Warrnambool/Port Campbell, Mountain Bike Cycling at Mount Buller and Track Cycling at Bendigo’s Tom Flood Centre, Diving at the Greater Bendigo Indoor Aquatic Leisure Centre, Gymnastics at the Geelong Convention Centre, Rowing at Lake Nagambie, Sailing at Lake Mulwala, Yarrawonga and Tennis at Wodonga Lawn Tennis Centre.

Members of the 13 member 2030 bid ‘taskforce’ met for the first time following the announcement on Thursday last week, to commence stage one of the work in exploring the possibility of a regional bid.

Chaired by former Swisse Wellness managing director, Adem Karafili, other committee members include deputy chair, Nick Holland, Heloise Pratt AM, Peter Crinis, Radek Sali, Mitch Catlin, Andrew Ryan, Leon Spellson, The Hon Jeanette Powell, Margaret Zita, Lauren Jackson AO and John Steffensen and the Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Dinny Adem.

The committee will be due to hand down its preliminary report on June 30, with the final report due two weeks later.

Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Dinny Adem said, “What we have unveiled is a ‘first of its kind’ vision, and what we believe could form the blueprint for future major sporting events given the cost required and infrastructure needed to hold global competitions like the Commonwealth Games.

“Importantly, staging a ground-breaking concept such as this across regional cities and towns will leave a legacy for millions of people like we have never seen before. The economic and social impact will be so significant, not to mention the wave of optimism that would sweep the state.”

As part of the bid concept, Greater Shepparton City Council is proposing up to three test events for the 2030 Commonwealth Games – Cricket, Softball and/or Beach Volleyball in Mildura and BMX in Shepparton, with Greater Shepparton Council currently bidding for the BMX World Cup.

“Under this top-line schedule, we envisage that the focus for proposed competition venues will be on significant upgrades to existing infrastructure to ensure Commonwealth Games regulations are met rather than building brand new facilities across the board at large expense,” Cr Adem said.

“Naturally, we do envisage that some temporary infrastructure will be required to house athletes and games activities as part of a satellite approach.

“The legacy of such upgrades is that regional cities and towns would be in a prime position to successfully bid for future national and international events for years to come. This means ongoing investment and benefits into local economies for decades,” Cr Adem said.

Formal approaches have already been made with the Victorian Premier, The Hon Daniel Andrews MP and Victorian Minister for Sport, and Tourism and Major Events, The Hon John Eren, along with the Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull MP and new Federal Sports Minister and Victorian MP, Greg Hunt.

“Naturally this idea won’t even get off the ground without very significant support across all levels of government and the private sector. Parties of all political persuasions have been talking for years about the importance of delivering jobs and investment strategies for regional areas and this ambitious but very real proposal will deliver on many, many fronts and for many, many years. No one does major events, particularly major sporting events, better than Victorians.

“We see ourselves as Australia’s regional sporting hub and this will put a stamp on that. If the bid is successful, hosting the Commonwealth Games would just be the icing on the cake,” Cr Adem said.

Bid committee chair, Adem Karafili said, “It is such an honour to be working with so many talented people on trying to bring this dream alive. There is no doubt that this idea has very strong foundations and it is the job of the committee to ensure we can take this to the next step.

“I still have many family members living in the Shepparton region so this project has a real personal connection for me.”

Australian sporting legend, Lauren Jackson is fully behind the innovative campaign.

“I live in Bellbridge, which is close to Wodonga, and the impact an event like this would on our town and across the state is actually hard to imagine. It will literally be a game-changer for millions of people and I really hope our dream becomes a reality.”

Former runner and current Athletics Australia board member, John Steffensen said, “It’s such an honour to be involved in this process. We have seen how Nitro in Melbourne revolutionised athletics globally, and I strongly believe a regional Commonwealth Games in my home State will be unparalleled in its transformation of major sporting events.”

Independent Member for the Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed is leading the political charge to secure support from all levels of government.

“This is an amazing opportunity for our regional cities to host and engage with the 2030 Commonwealth Games, and I commend Greater Shepparton City Council for this visionary project.

“In politics, it is so easy to think in short term only. This is truly planning for our future, and represents the chance for regional Victorian cities to showcase themselves and to participate in the wealth creation that comes from great events,” Ms Sheed said.