Dubbo to be home to $44.5 million Western Region Institute of Sport

Photo: BELINDA SOOLE
Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

A globally-recognised precinct which can have a significant impact on numerous sports at a national level while benefiting those living in regional NSW.

That’s what the Western Region Institute of Sport will be after the development of the elite $44.5 million facility was announced on Tuesday.

Planned to be completed within three years, the precinct based at the Charles Sturt University campus will be a centre of excellence and hub for numerous sports while also offering educational benefits and a wellness centre.

There will be a 10-court multi-sport facility suitable for netball, basketball, gymnastics, indoor hockey and cricket training, while tennis courts and facilities for rugby league and rugby union will also be on offer.

Administrative centres for the numerous sports will also be housed at the institute.

There is also the option of future development, with a FIFA standard synthetic football pitch and 24 more outdoor courts a possibility.

It will also have a significant impact on other sports in Dubbo, with a top-class velodrome and 1km criterium track for cycling also to be built at the new location.

That will make it possible for No. 1 Oval to improve as a cricket ground while also potentially becoming a location for Australian Rules games.

Deputy premier John Barilaro, local member Troy Grant, and a huge number of stakeholders from the various sports were on hand on Tuesday, and each said not only is this a major development for Dubbo, but it will have a much wider reach as well.

“Dubbo won’t just be on the map in NSW, but globally shortly and that is exciting," Barilaro said.

General manager of NRL club Penrith Panthers, Phil Gould, and the club’s high performance manager Matt Cameron were on hand for the announcement, as was proud Dubbo junior and former Australian player Andrew Ryan.

Tennis NSW Head of Tennis Operations, Chris Woodland, as well as local identities from rugby union, cricket, netball, basketball, and many more sports were also at CSU.

Gould spoke in glowing terms about the institute and the importance of sport in regional areas.

One of the biggest things he, and many others, spoke about on Tuesday is how valuable it will be to keep talented athletes from the western area in their home region, rather than having to make the move to Sydney.

“To be able to leave kids in their country home and their country school with their mates but still have the best of facilities and the best of coaching so they feel like they can compete, the more we can do that the better,” he said.

Gus McDonald, representing NSW Rugby, said something similar.

“This best thing is we can get kids from out west in here and we can run exactly the same things as we would in Sydney,” he said.

Tennis NSW’s Woodland was one of many to say like this was needed for his respective sport, with the institute to become only the second venue in the state with the potential to host international events.

“There is a real opportunity to provide some international lead-up events but we just haven’t had the venue,” he said.

The institute will be built in two stages with construction starting as soon as May 2019.