News a $30 million regional basketball stadium will be funded in the state's "other steel city" Newcastle has put a spotlight on the dire need in Wollongong, where there are waiting lists of at least 200 junior players who can't fit in current facilities.
It was announced this week that an extra $5 million would be given to the Newcastle project, up from $25 million, with that city's leaders saying it would be the premier basketball destination in regional NSW.
Basketball Illawarra executive general manager Oscar Forman said the need for stadium improvements was one significant barrier holding back the sport's boom.
"One thing we're really trying to do here at the association is remove barriers to people playing basketball," he said.
"We're trying to create lifelong basketball people, and remove barriers.
"For them to announce that, I'm obviously happy for them. I don't think we're in competition with other people hoping we don't get things - that's not what we're about.
"Everyone's in need of facilities, and if Newcastle gets that facility it allows more people in their region to play, which is fantastic.
"But I think it also spotlights the need for basketball stadiums, and indoor courts, and more courts, in NSW.
"We've got a waiting list of 200 players just in our junior comps, and when I spoke to another association they're at 1500 players, and [another] turned away 60 teams plus 200 individuals.
"We were successful in getting a grant to upgrade some lighting and female facilities, so that's exciting and we'll do that this year.
"What we're still struggling to find is the ability to upgrade and extend."
No promises of funding for sporting facilities in the Illawarra have been forthcoming from either the Liberal or Labor parties ahead of Saturday's election.
Labor Member for Wollongong Paul Scully said if re-elected on Saturday he would work with councils and sporting bodies to improve local facilities.
"While facilities in central Wollongong continue to be ignored by the NSW Liberals following our city's earlier exclusion from funding by them, NSW Labor has made commitments to upgrade sporting facilities in central Wollongong at this election, however this did not include a commitment to a new basketball stadium which would require contributions from all levels of government."
Liberal candidate for Wollongong Joel Johnson said he would advocate strongly for all sports funding in Wollongong, including basketball.
"If elected I will fight to ensure that sports facilities in our area are state of the art, with adequate playing space, amenities, and technological fittings," he said.
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