New synthetic oval now open for action

Tessa Randello

The multi-purpose synthetic oval at Morwell Recreation Reserve was officially opened on Friday.

Construction of the oval cost $3.5 million as part of the $9 million upgrades to the reserve.

The project included the installation of lighting, boundary fencing, gates, goal posts and storm water drainage systems, it meets AFL and FIFA standards.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said he was particularly pleased that the work has supported local jobs.

“These are the finest sporting facilities between Melbourne and Canberra and I can say that with authority because I drive that road so much,” Mr Chester said.

“This is an all-weather oval. It will mainly be used by Gippsland Power Football Club, Morwell Football Netball Club and the Morwell Cricket Club, but will also be available to other community and school groups.”

“While the oval will increase capacity for football locally, it will also be able to host AFL and AFLW matches.

“The facilities at Morwell are now some of the best available in Gippsland for our footballers, netballers and cricketers and will encourage more people to get active and become involved with their local sporting clubs.”

Labor Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said she was excited to see the opportunities that the new ground would bring to Gippsland.

“It takes an awful lot of work for the state and federal governments to come together in the way that we have,” Ms Shing said.

“There is so much pride here, there is so much collective effort… this is about investment in our communities as we grow and it is about giving everyone an opportunity to participate in local sporting clubs.”

New netball courts and a shared pavilion for cricket and netball have been finished as part of the upgrades, the netball courts have been in use since the 2018 and pavilion opened in January of 2019.

Improvements to the Keegan Street Oval are expected to be finished later this year.

“Investments in better public facilities of this kind also make good financial sense as it boosts the attractiveness of our region as a place to live and bring up a family,” Mr Chester said.

“It’s also an investment in the economic health of our towns: better sports facilities allow us to successfully bid for regional and state level events.

“Weekend sports carnivals and tournaments bring families into our region, which is good for our local traders.”