Prime Minister backs Mariners Centre of Excellence

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has today announced a re-elected Labor Government will commit $10 million in funding to the Mariners at Tuggerah Centre of Excellence.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has today announced a re-elected Labor Government will commit $10 million in funding to the Mariners at Tuggerah Centre of Excellence.

Prime Minister Gillard made the announcement amid a sea of media and onlookers at Club Tuggerah this morning, in a move that will help the Mariners cement their place as one of the pre-eminent sporting clubs in the country, and indeed, the first Hyundai A-League club to have full and independent access to their training facility.

"The Central Coast Mariners are an important part of this community," said Ms Gillard.

"It-s always great to see on field success, but the Central Coast Mariners above and beyond fighting for on field success are also part of this community, engage with the local schools, engage with young people in this community to get a life, to work hard, to do the right thing.

"The Central Coast Mariners has sought assistance to develop a new facility to call home. But importantly a facility too, where the community will be able to come along and benefit from having the ability to watch their Central Coast Mariners in new and better circumstance, benefit themselves by having better access to the sporting facility for other community sports benefit because the vision includes making available medical services and other community services that people locally would look for.

"I thank the Central Coast Mariners for meeting with us today, and I know with this additional resource they will be able to bring this vision into reality. It will be great for the team, great for the team and great for the local community," said Ms Gillard.

Instrumental in receiving the funding from the federal government was Member for Dobell Craig Thompson MP, who tirelessly lobbied in the halls of parliament, alongside Mariners deputy chairman Peter Turnbull, and says "Mariners at Tuggerah" will become a beacon for the entire Central Coast.

"All A-League teams play a great role in their community, but none more so than the Mariners," said Mr Thompson.

"It also brings great benefits to the Central Coast community here. We have a hydrotherapy pool that is going to be developed here that is going to be able to be used by the aged care community. We have a medical centre here and like many communities health is a vital issue."

Mr Turnbull believes the funding will not only benefit the club, but the entire Central Coast community, and ensure the Centre of Excellence will provide a legacy to the region for generations to come.

"It-s amazing. It-s a great day for the Central Coast as well as the club. The $10 million grant from the federal government will enable us to build a world class standard facility," said Mr Turnbull.

"Dare I say it, the Central Coast has been waiting for a facility such as this for a long time, so now we will be able to do the five-a-side courts immediately, the two football fields immediately, the sports science centre immediately, and the aquatic centre.

"It guarantees the project-s success, and it means we can bring things forward. Instead of waiting for funding to be put in place and for the banking sector to recover and start lending more money to business, we can actually start moving ahead right now, and put our plans in place.

"We will have facilities that no other football club in Australia has. We will have our own home, our own base, we will have a centre which will be comparable to some of the biggest overseas clubs, and we will be able to attract therefore the best talent.

"Not only we will be able to encourage and foster Central Coast talent, but we will have the best kids in Australia wanting to come here and play for the Central Coast," said Mr Turnbull.

Once complete, the development will feature:

• Two full size football fields and a grandstand for up to 3,000 fans; • A function, event and reception centre for club and community use; • Up to ten all-weather sports courts for Five-a-side soccer and other sports use; • A heated indoor pool and hydrotherapy centre for community use; • A gym and fitness centre for community use; • Facilities for delivering educational learning programs; • A sports medicine centre; • Amenities and car parking facilities and upgrade to the Wyong Rd roundabout; and

The funding will ensure the project goes ahead with all of the sport, educational and health benefits it offers.

The facilities will encourage participation in sport through development programs, school sport programs, swimming classes and community sporting competitions.

The fields will be used as a training facility for the Mariners, for matches of the National Youth League and also for events such as finals of local and interstate men-s and women-s tournaments.

The development will also include a community medical centre and a community dental centre.

Mr Turnbull says the development will also generate around 200 jobs for local people through its development and beyond.

Work is expected to commence in early 2011 and is expected to be complete by early 2013.

"Two years is about right because it will take us about five or six months to get our construction approvals, our architects are now working on the construction drawings, we will then issue tenders at the end of this year, we will start building around about February and it normally takes 15 to 18 months to do a centre such as this," said Mr Turnbull.