The proposed upgrades include a female-friendly changing room to service the upcoming women’s games, improved grandstands, scoreboard and public-address systems, greater accessibility measures and upgrades to toilets.
State Member for Newtown Jenny Leong was supportive of the investment in women’s sport but told City Hub that “funding needs to be across the board for community clubs, not just the big end of town”.
“It is critical that any announcement of potential future government funding for sporting facilities is done on a needs basis – and allocated in a transparent manner,” Ms Leong said.
Inner West councillor John Stamolis called it “majorly important for our community”.
“Making sure women have the right sort of amenities they need available to them is important so they can continue on to a high level of sports participation,” Stamolis said.
When asked about what this meant for Mr Albanese’s campaign, Stamolis said that it’s “par for the course as far as election promises go”.
Henson Park funding to benefit entire Inner West, says former Marrickville mayor
Inner West Council asked for community feedback in 2019 to help create a 10-year Master Plan for Henson Park.
The Master Plan was drafted with community input taken into consideration, and includes upgrades to the grandstand and scoreboard, improved pedestrian access and upgrades to entrances and parking.
“I think it’ll complement the existing Master Plan for the Park, because what’s missing is the actual funding,” former Marrickville mayor and Inner West deputy mayor, Victor Macri, said.
Mr Macri noted that the entire Inner West community was set to benefit from the proposals, given the role that the grounds play for a variety of different groups.
“Those facilities are shared by the whole community, the local schools use those facilities, the local kids use those facilities,” he said.
“The better your facilities are, the better the outcomes are for the community.”
A community-first sentiment was echoed by Ms Leong.
“It’s wonderful that Henson Park will be the home ground for the Sydney Swans AFLW – but it’s critical that it also remains a community accessible ground.
“What we need to see is more investment and support for local, grassroots and community sport across the city – this needs to be a priority when it comes to federal funding.”