I rise today to speak of the pressing need for the federal government to step in and make a real difference to the community of Mudgee and its surrounding districts. The Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex is a jewel in the crown of the Mid-Western Regional Council and the council area. To date, $13.8 million has been invested in the facility. It's the stadium where the region's great sporting contests are watched and savoured by the people of Mudgee, Gulgong, Rylstone, Kandos and the surrounding area. Glen Willow opened on Sunday, 22 April 2012, hosting the Country v City NRL fixture. The attending crowd was treated to a close match, with City just holding out Country, 24 to 22. I was there that day, and I recall the member for Hunter, who is in this House tonight, being there as well, and also Mudgee's favourite son, Ken Sutcliffe. That was a spectacle befitting this fine complex. It has served the community well.
Since that time, it has generated $24.4 million in economic value and attracted almost 50,000 overnight visitors to the area. On any given day or evening of the week, you are likely to see players from the Mudgee Gulgong Wolves Football Club, the Mudgee District Netball Association or the Mudgee Black Swans Australian Rules Football Club and numerous other codes training or competing for victory. There has been the Waratahs v Brumbies trial matches, school-aged representative carnivals and seasonal fixtures for local sporting codes, all attracting thousands of visitors to the region each year. Recently, Glen Willow hosted the Dragons v Raiders NRL round 11 fixture, where the Dragons prevailed. In 2019, Glen Willow will welcome the Charity Shield between the Dragons and Rabbitohs, as well as a premiership match. The Central Coast Mariners also use the ground when they play their away games. As Brad Cam, the general manager of Mid-Western Regional Council, said recently:
I believe there's over 1000 touch players for the summer competition, 700 girls playing netball and the fields are used during the nights for training for AFL, Soccer, Rugby League—so it's a very well used ground.
The stadium seats 10,000 people, with 1,000 of those under cover. It features competition-level lighting for night matches and a self-draining surface that allows play regardless of the weather conditions.
However, the current facilities at Glen Willow are at capacity. The facility is heavily booked and highly utilised. This has put a handbrake on the community's ability to host additional events, host larger events such as the state football titles and accommodate more local sporting groups like the senior rugby union club. The community now seeks to take something that is very good and create something that is truly great. The plan is to turn this stadium into a regional centre of sporting excellence. What is proposed are new senior and junior club houses and amenity buildings, two additional senior rugby union and rugby league playing fields suitable for four touch fields, two multipurpose playing fields, two junior rugby league playing fields, lighting and additional car parking. Not only would the facilities be expanded; but the proposed project would promote economic growth and create jobs through increased sports tourism activity in the area. The council is also proposing to extensively landscape the surrounds of Glen Willow with pedestrian, cycling and running paths through the wetlands created from stormwater runoff.
It doesn't matter what sport you prefer, whether it's soccer—preferably known as football—AFL, rugby league, union, touch, cricket, hockey, softball, baseball or netball, Glen Willow will facilitate all of these sports. It will also enable more members of the local community—I'm talking about kids, juniors and adults—to participate in sport and regularly play at top-class, all-weather, all-seasons facilities. Stage 1 of Glen Willow has been an outstanding success. It has been a truly worthwhile regional project, but it needs additional funding. It needs our support. It needs the support of the federal government, and I urge that support to be forthcoming.