Sports funding put the cat among the pigeons at Melton council last month.

Councillors were being asked to put $100,000 towards upgrades to public toilets and new female change rooms at Melton Recreation Reserve.

The funds would become available if Melton South Football Netball Club secures a $70,000 Sport and Recreation Victoria grant.

But Watts ward councillor Lara Carli told the meeting that council should fund the same standard of infrastructure in all three wards for other sporting clubs with the same needs.

She said it was unfair for council to fund Melton Recreation Reserve upgrades while ignoring other sports clubs that had requested similar support.

But community services general manager Maurie Heaney said the council had already agreed to allocate funding on condition the sports club also receives a regional grant.

Otherwise, projects are referred to the upcoming budget for consideration, he said.

The funding stoush arose as an audit of regional sports reserves was released in the final draft of AFL Goldfields’s regional strategy.

Of the 15 sports reserves in Melton and Moorabool, 14 were identified as needing upgrades to change rooms and 11 needed better umpires rooms.

The audit also identified 13 reserves that need upgrades to either netball facilities, lighting or courts.

“More than 80 per cent of the region’s home-and-away change rooms and 60 per cent of umpire change rooms [in the Goldfields region] do not cater for female participants,” the report states. It said investment in change room amenities was essential to cater for growing female participation in football, and to recognise netball as a major regional sport.

The AFL Goldfields report identified Melton as facing one of the largest projected sports participation increases in the Goldfields region over the next few years.

Councillors unanimously voted in favour of Cr Carli’s amended motion.

The AFL Goldfields Regional Strategy is a collaborative effort by organisations including AFL Victoria, Netball Victoria and 14 councils.

With Esther Lauaki.