The first step in Football South Coast’s dream ‘‘home of football’’ development remains clouded by uncertainty, regarding the re-application process for $7.4million in Federal Government funding.
The Mercury reported a fortnight ago the new Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss had confirmed the government would not be funding a number of projects including the West Dapto project.
However, Football South Coast chief executive Ann-Marie Balliana yesterday admitted she is still to find out if this is the case.
Football South Coast had been confident the funding, budgeted for and announced by the previous Labor Goverment, would be secured but are now in a state of limbo for their dream project.
‘‘We still haven’t heard anything formal back about the RDA fund and what is happening with it,’’ Balliana said.
‘‘I know Stephen Jones has written a letter to Warren Truss to find out what is happening and I don’t think he has anything back and we certainly haven’t.
‘‘We haven’t heard anything to say that we are not getting it and we really just have to wait and see. ‘‘I guess when Parliament resumes then I guess we will probably get some more answers, especially some firmer ground about this National Stronger Regions fund and what that might mean.’’
Having originally been allocated the funding under the RDA Illawarra fund, the $7.4million is likely to be reassessed under the Coalition’s new National Stronger Regions fund.
Football South Coast are still confident in their submission for the funding and are taking steps to ensure the Coalition Government knows how valuable it can be.
‘‘What we have got is a submission that we are going to start circulating to some key members of government so that they become aware of what the project is, what it is about and some of the benefits it can bring,’’ Balliana said.
‘‘It is more just getting the word out there about our ‘home of football’.’’
The sport’s governing body are still in the running for the Restart Illawarra Infastructure funding to support the same West Dapto project, but won’t find out until the end of this year if they are successful.
All funding for the development is expected to assist one of Football South Coast’s wider goals of supporting an A-League side in the region.
With the new A-League season on the horizon, talk continues to circulate on the topic of expansion as head of the A-League Damien de Bohun suggested the possibility of involving nearby Asian nations in the competition over the coming years.
Football South Coast’s boss Balliana thinks any potential Asian foray shouldn’t come at the expense of the local product.
‘‘There will obviously be a great market over in Asia as well but I think that there is a lot of regional areas like us that welcome the opportunities for elite games,’’ Balliana said.
‘‘If Asia is included as part of their plan I think it shouldn’t be at the exclusion of other areas like ourselves that do have the capacity to host A-League games.
‘‘It is not to say it would be a mutually exclusive deal, perhaps they could do it in conjunction.’’