State Basketball Centre expansion receives budget upgrade

Basketball Victoria welcomes the Victorian Government’s $130 million budget announcement to upgrade and expand the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South.

Basketball Victoria welcomes the Victorian Government’s $130 million investment to upgrade and expand the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna South. 

The additional $22 million, announced in the Victorian State Budget, is on top of the original funding announced in 2018, provided by the Victorian State Government ($83M) and Knox City Council ($25M). The expansion will increase capacity at the State Basketball Centre to 16 courts, encompassing 10 new indoor community courts and high-performance training facilities for athletes within Victorian and national teams as well as WNBL and NBL franchises. 

Victorian Deputy Premier James Merlino, Knox City Council Mayor Lisa Cooper as well as Australian Opal Alanna Smith and Australian junior representative Bailey Jankovic celebrated the announcement on Friday morning with stakeholder representatives from Basketball Victoria, Knox Basketball, South East Melbourne Phoenix, Melbourne Boomers and Basketball Australia.  

The State Basketball Centre currently welcomes almost 800,000 visitors annually and the project will increase visitation to more than 2 million people a year when complete. 

“Victoria’s basketball roots run deep in Melbourne’s South East,” said Minister for Education and Member for Monbulk, James Merlino. 

“This new centre will deliver a place where clubs can go and kids can realise their dreams by emulating and watching their basketball heroes in their own back yard. 

“More people hit the court here than anywhere else in the state, that’s why we’re getting on with delivering the ultimate home court advantage, from grassroots to elite, providing facilities where they’re needed most.”  

The upgrade will also include a new administrative area to support the growth of its home organisations – Basketball Victoria, Knox Basketball Inc. (one of Australia’s largest basketball associations), Deakin Melbourne Boomers (WNBL), South East Melbourne Phoenix (NBL) and Basketball Australia. 

Looking to rebound from a challenging 2020 with COVID-19 restrictions, Victorian basketball remains a high-demand, year-round sport within the state, encompassing 240,000 weekly participants and over 50 per cent of participants in Australia. 

Basketball Victoria CEO Nick Honey said the additional funding announcement was a sign of basketball’s popularity throughout the Victorian community and the redevelopment would help support participation growth in the South East as well as elevate the sport’s premier status in player pathway development. 

“The expanded State Basketball Centre will be a great addition to the Victorian basketball community,” Honey said. “The additional 10 courts – taking the venue to 16 overall – will give more players a chance to take the court and help fill the urgent need for more basketball facilities in the area” 

“This redevelopment will also allow us to expand our High-Performance programs and set world-class standards for elite athletes. This continues the Victorian Government’s ongoing commitment to support the growth of basketball, which included a $5 million investment in 2019 into Basketball Victoria’s High-Performance Hubs across the state.” 

 “We would like to thank Premier Daniel Andrews, Deputy Premier James Merlino, the Victorian Government, Knox City Council and all stakeholders for their important contributions and tireless work on this all-important project.” 

Knox domestic and representative players are set to greatly benefit from today’s Victorian Government funding announcement for the State Basketball Centre. Picture: KNOX BASKETBALL

Knox Basketball Inc. CEO Grant Harrison said the importance of this facility means a great deal to the local community and it’s 11,000 members. 

“Knox Basketball Incorporated (KBI) as one of the largest associations in Australia with over 40 years of history, we welcome the support benefitting Knox Basketball with ten new community courts, an administration space and a home for the next 40 years. 

“This is an unprecedented amount of funding from both the State Government and Knox City Council for the State Basketball Centre and we are extremely grateful and humbled by this level of funding commitment. “ 

An expanded home destination for the South East Melbourne Phoenix (NBL) and Deakin Melbourne Boomers (WNBL) will deliver increased player development and high-performance opportunities as well as expanded administration offices. 

South East Melbourne Phoenix CEO Tommy Greer thanked the Victorian State Government for their support of the newest NBL franchise’s home base and to enable further growth of basketball’s pathway to the elite leagues. 

“The South East Melbourne Phoenix are extremely appreciative of the Victorian Government’s support of our aspirations and look forward to continuing to work with all stakeholders towards what will be a great outcome for the sport.” 

Tony Hallam, Deakin Melbourne Boomers Chair, added his appreciation of the announcement of the State Basketball Centre upgrade. 

“Deakin Melbourne Boomers are very grateful to the Andrews State Government for believing in the vision created for the future of the State Basketball Centre and we look forward to the project delivering all the much-needed facilities for our professional women’s team and high-performance program.” 

The additional funding for this project, makes it the largest basketball infrastructure investment in the sports history and enables a home base for organisations of all levels of the pathway. 

“Basketball Australia congratulates the Victorian State Government on its vision for supporting one of the fastest growing participation sports in Australia with the announcement of funding for the redevelopment of the State Basketball Centre.” said Basketball Australia CEO Jerril Rechter AM. 

“Victoria has the largest participation of basketball in the country and the state has a rich history of developing athletes, coaches and officials for national team pathways. 

“The upgrading of the facility comes at an important time for the sport and we thank the Victorian State Government for their ongoing support of basketball at all levels.” 

The gymnastics centre (for Knox Gymnastics Club) to be built at the State Basketball Centre is to replace the existing facility in Ferntree Gully and address the large waiting lists for training and competition in the region. 

Procurement of the head contractor is expected by early 2021 with construction to begin in mid-2021. 

Digital renders courtesy of Cox Architects.

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