Upgrades to the Bacchus Marsh Racecourse and Recreation Grounds are a step closer to reality, with a pledge of federal funds should the Labor Party win this month’s election.

Ballarat MP Catherine King visited the site last week to announce a funding commitment of $1.4 million to go towards stage two of the re-development, which will include new soccer and cricket fields.

A recent council application for federal funding on the project was knocked back, but Ms King said the upgrades were long overdue for the region.

“There are no dedicated, purpose-built football pitches in Moorabool shire, despite rapid population growth in the area, so Labor’s investment is about improving the region’s liveability and opportunities” Ms King said.

“Our investment will deliver two football pitches and a cricket pitch with coaches boxes and the associated drainage, irrigation and fencing works.

“About one in three of all sports participants in the shire are based in the Bacchus Marsh area but only about half of the sporting facilities, so these facilities are needed now but will also help build capacity in the community to cope with a population forecast to increase to 25,000 by 2021 and more than 35,000 by 2041.”

Shadow minister for sport, Senator Don Farrell, was also on hand for the announcement, and said it was about providing the best opportunities for local clubs to grow.

“Whether they dream of playing for Australia, or just want to enjoy the health and social benefits that come with being part of a community sporting club, we want to give all Australians the chance to enjoy sport,” Senator Farrell said.

“Our investments in local sporting facilities like these help clubs and communities build capacity to meet the welcome growth in female participation in club sport and support more Australians to live active, healthy lifestyles.”