14 April 2019

Federal Budget delivers $30 million for pools in Bellarine and Surf Coast

Today I announce that the 2019 Federal Budget has delivered $30 million for two pools in the Corangamite electorate – one in Surf Coast and one in north Bellarine.
Pools are critically important local infrastructure for swimming safety, recreation and community health and well-being, especially in beachside communities such as the Surf Coast and the Bellarine.
Whether it’s teaching children to learn to swim, rehabilitation for seniors or a proper facility for swimming training and competitions for local swim squads, schools and surf clubs, a pool is vital community infrastructure.
Together, with the community, I have been fighting for a Surf Coast Aquatic Centre for a very long time.
A total of $20 million is being provided for a Surf Coast aquatic facility, contingent on council agreeing to construct a 50 metre pool as part of the complex.  Combined with a state election commitment of $10 million which I trust will be delivered, this provides $30 million of budgeted funding for this much needed facility expected to be constructed on Surf Coast Highway next to the Surf Coast Secondary College.
Labor’s plan to fund only a 25 metre pool is short sighted and not supported by so many in the community including local surf clubs, swimming clubs and the Surf Coast Aquatic and Leisure Centre Action Group which has done so much to advocate for this facility.
I congratulate members of the action group including its chair Col Fowler for their incredible hard work and advocacy over such a long period. 
I now call on Surf Coast Shire to get on with the important job of planning, costing, designing and building this aquatic facility.  While the final cost is to be determined, I trust that council will make a funding contribution to the aquatic centre, if required, to ensure construction can begin as soon as possible.
 North Bellarine
The Morrison Liberal Government is also providing $10 million for a 50 metre outdoor pool facility to be located in the north Bellarine. This is an incredible win for these communities which were left with no local pool after the closure of the pool at Portarlington.
I want to thank the many hundreds of people who signed my petition and demonstrated that “people power” really does matter.
With budgeted funding of $10 million, this will fully fund the construction of an outdoor 50 metre pool and membrane roof, change rooms and kiosk.  I very much trust that council will back this new facility which will be a wonderful asset for the whole community including thousands of primary and secondary school students who attend school on the Bellarine.
While there is significant community support for this new facility to be located in Drysdale, the location and design of the pool should only be determined after extensive community consultation.
In securing this funding, my focus has been squarely on delivering and getting things done. I also hope that the Victorian Government will back this facility and provide the funding for a stage 2 complex which could include an indoor pool, gymnasium and other features.  It is most regrettable that state Labor provided $10 million for a Torquay aquatic facility but no funding for a pool on the north Bellarine.
Further, in committing to a feasibility study only, my Labor opponent has actively discriminated against Bellarine communities.
I thank everyone who has worked so hard with me to secure this incredible $30 million of budgeted funding, a great win for Corangamite residents.
14 April 2019