A $15 million funding injection from the Liberal Nationals Government has secured the redevelopment of Ikon Park in Carlton to create the home of AFLW in Victoria.
With $40 million now pledged to the transformational project, works will begin to turn the historic football venue into a hub that will help foster and inspire the next generation of female sporting talent.
The project will deliver a high performance training facility for the AFLW, a purpose built women’s coaching education hub, a women’s sports injury prevention and research centre and allied health centre, and upgraded AFLW match-day facilities.
Minister for Sport Bridget McKenzie said the project would provide world-class facilities to support current and future Australian female athletes.
“We recognise that the success of all of our women’s sporting teams has seen a huge increase in participation in all women’s sports – especially the AFLW – and this investment will ensure that facilities remain up-to-scratch to meet their needs,” Minister McKenzie said.
“Ikon Park has become the venue of choice in Victoria for the AFLW since its inception in 2017, and this investment will make sure that young girls see our best female athletes competing at the elite level at major venues more and more into the future.
"Our top level female athletes are setting the pace on the Australian sporting scene and that positive story flows right down the line to our grassroots sports clubs – a key goal for the Liberal-Nationals Government.”
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said the project would provide a pathway for women from the local community all the way to the elite level, opening up avenues and opportunities they haven’t had access to before.
“It is so important for our elite female athletes to have access to purpose-built high performance facilities to develop their full potential as champion athletes,” Treasurer Frydenberg said.
“Success in sport is not just measured by on-field achievements, and that’s why it’s so pleasing to see that the redevelopment of Ikon Park will provide training and education facilities for women to further their careers as officials.
“We’ll continue to invest in the infrastructure which provides the level of support our female athletes and coaches need to achieve their dreams because they need our support.”
The Minister for Women Kelly O’Dwyer said: “Our AFLW players are role models for the next generation of girls. It’s vital that they have the professional facilities to match their status as star athletes.”
The funding for the Ikon Park redevelopment comes on top of a $15 million commitment to support the construction of a new state-of-the-art sports and events venue in Springfield, Queensland, which will support the growth of AFLW throughout the sunshine state.
In addition, $12 million was announced last month to boost female participation in tennis across the country in-conjunction with Tennis Australia.
The Liberal Nationals Government has also committed $60 million to support grassroots sporting clubs upgrade their facilities through the Community Sport Infrastructure grant program with funding for more than 220 projects across Australia having already been announced.