LOCAL council elections are about to conclude and Basketball Victoria wants you to use your vote to support our sport.
With the polls closing across Victoria on Saturday 22 October, local community infrastructure and facilities are important points to discuss.
Currently basketball in this state suffers from an infrastructure shortfall of an estimated 100 courts, which translates into reduced opportunities for your family, your children, their friends, your mates and all the other basketball players across the state.
Approximately 240,000 participants take to the courts each year in Victoria.
When we take into account the players’ friends and family, as well as non-playing supporters, volunteers and officials – it represents a strong and diverse community that has a vested interest in basketball’s immediate future.
Over the years many of the 79 Victorian local governments – throughout metropolitan Melbourne and country Victoria – have been exceptional supporters of our sport – creating new stadiums, outdoor courts and enhancing our playing opportunities across the board.
Has your council been one of them?
Basketball organisations and associations across the state need more to continue providing for future expansion… and that’s where your vote is important.
There are a lot of sports competing for the same facility upgrades, oval renovations and stadium developments, but few can offer the same opportunities that basketball can provide as we play all-year round.
Basketball throughout Victoria runs across the seasons and is not at the mercy of rain, flooding, wind or other negative environmental factors that can disrupt the game. Our facilities gain far more use because of it – especially when you take into account competitions are held throughout the whole week, unlike others that play only on the weekends.
We are an Olympic sport; few other senior and junior sports within Australia can command that title and give burgeoning prospects the chance to go from juniors to the Australian Olympic team.
Eight Victorians were named Olympians in Rio and four men were selected for the Australian Rollers Paralympic Games team.
We are inclusive – basketball has supported and cultivated senior and junior female leagues, wheelchair basketball competitions, Ivor Burge opportunities for people with an intellectual disability, and has been an accepting and accessible sport to anyone who wishes to play for decades.
Victorian athletes continue to overachieve on the international stage, with players currently competing in top tier leagues across the world.
Ben Simmons, the NBA number one draft pick, among other NBA and WNBA stars like Matthew Dellavedova, Liz Cambage and Andrew Bogut cut their teeth playing on courts in and around Victoria… and that story is not uncommon.
Six Victorian female players – Ezi Magbegor, Rebecca Pizzey, Lucy Cochrane, Jaz Shelley, Monique Conti, Kiera Rowe – have also earned international acclaim as they became FIBA under-17 world champions with the Australian Sapphires.
It’s not a coincidence that the high-calibre coaching, competitions, referees, coaches and players come from the Victorian basketball pathways… but they also need the venues to accommodate and cultivate these dreams.
Basketball Victoria CEO Nick Honey said the sport’s 240,000 participants per year in Victoria shows how hungry the state is for basketball – and how urgently the court shortfall needs to be addressed with additional facilities.
“Local councils have played a phenomenal role in supporting the growth and development of basketball and indoor sports infrastructure throughout Victoria – but more facilities are needed urgently,” Honey said. “We continue to be a growth sport year on year – with numbers ballooning throughout our domestic and high-calibre competitions like the Melb Utd. VJBL, BIG V and the Country Basketball League.
“The growth is fantastic but we are faced with a glass ceiling that is proving a huge barrier for the sport.
“Growth has resulted in spite of a lack of courts for people to play on within pockets of Melbourne and regional Victoria – it is not an uncommon practice for Victorian basketball associations to place teams or players on waiting lists for competitions as current infrastructure simply cannot keep up with the demand for the sport at local level.
“This election is a great opportunity to support the growth of stadium space in Victoria and deliver for the community’s immense love for basketball.”
When you post in your ballot or head to the polling booth, Basketball Victoria wants you to vote for those candidates running for council who support:
- New indoor stadiums in both growing and developed areas
- Redevelopment and expansion of existing indoor stadiums
- Leisure studies including indoor facilities
- Make indoor facility planning a priority
So it’s time to make our collective voice heard and to VOTE ONE FOR BASKETBALL.
To find out more information about your council’s candidates in your ward – visit the Victorian Electorial Commission website www.vec.vic.gov.au.