Feds urged to dive in

Dale Missen and Lauren Tudball from MooraPool. (Damjan Janevski) 383580_01

Liam McNally

A new advocacy group in Bacchus Marsh is hoping to provide the push needed to convince the federal government to provide the final third of funding for an indoor pool in Bacchus Marsh.

Since before World War 2, Bacchus Marsh has had its aquatic needs met via a single outdoor pool, open only through the summer months.

In the decades following, the population swelled and so did the need for another option, and from the 1980s to today it seems as if once per decade governments have ebbed closer to, then flowed away from the idea.

In 2022 the project received a positive push, with $15 million and $10 million being pledged toward the indoor pool by Moorabool council and the state government respectively.

Now, the Moorabool Aquatic and Recreation Centre (MARC), also funded by council and state government, has opened. However, there’s still no pool in the stadium, and all the other branches of government say is missing is a $15 million dollar commitment from the feds.

A spokesperson for the new community group, Moorapool, Lauren Tudball said now is the time for residents to “make some noise”.

“Whilst we’re very excited about the opening of MARC, it’s a bit presumptuous that we’ve thrown the word “aquatic” in there with no aqua to be seen,” she said.

“The opening of MARC goes to show exactly what can happen when a number of different sources rally and work together so whilst it’s frustrating, it does show what the light at the end of the tunnel could possibly look like.

“The pool project is so important for our community – the precinct which includes the indoor stadium, bowls and community hub and the aquatic centre will generate $100 million in economic activity, and help create more than 200 direct and indirect jobs.”

Moorapool is encouraging the community to join its Facebook page to follow what actions the group will be taking in their advocacy, and also sign a petition that has been launched by Eureka MP Michaela Settle.

Ms Settle said the formation of Moorapool shows the community isn’t giving up in its long fight for an indoor pool, and that her petition can be signed before it is presented to parliament at the end of April.

“We need the federal government to dive in and help make the indoor pool a reality,” she said.

Federal Hawke MP Sam Rae agreed that the campaign for an indoor pool has been long.

“I’m pushing Moorabool Shire to get together a strong application for Labor’s Thriving Suburbs fund so we can get this pool built,” he said.

Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government Minister, Catherine King also encouraged Moorabool council to apply for the Thriving Suburbs Fund.

Moorabool mayor Ally Munari said Moorapool and Ms Settle’s petition are important initiatives that demonstrate to the federal government that there is widespread community support for this much-needed facility in the shire.

“While council is disappointed Bacchus Marsh was ruled ineligible for consideration for funding under the federal Growing Regions Program, we look forward to receiving the guidelines for the metro-centred Thriving Suburbs Program and the opening of the grant rounds,” she said.

Details: tinyurl.com/beyav2ns or www.michaelasettle.com.au/important-issues/fund-the-bacchus-marsh-indoor-pool/