The Cairns netball courts are home to the largest ANZ NetSetGo program in Australia, and are about to undergo a facelift for the first time in 30 years with a multi-million dollar expansion of the facility over the next two years.
In its master plan Cairns Regional Council has allocated land adjacent to the existing six courts at Martyn Street and has dedicated $2.5 million dollars to the project in the 2015 budget.
Cairns Netball Association Operations manager, Kym McPhee-Smith said the money would be used to build 12 new hard courts and 10 grass courts, along with a brand new club house and 250 space carpark.
“It means so much to the Association and it very exciting, especially after years of working really hard to promote netball in far north Queensland,” McPhee-Smith said.
“Netball is the fastest growing sport in Cairns and being a female sport it is nice to be recognised.”
McPhee-Smith said the courts cannot come quickly enough with at least 15 schools utilising the current facility on a weekly basis, an ever-increasing NetSetGo program and overflowing with young netballers every night of the week.
“We are passionate about our sport up here in Cairns,” McPhee-Smith said.
“It will be great to continue our growth as an Association, we have 1500 members and we host some of the biggest (Netball Queensland) state carnivals. Just today we have 35 teams competing in the Vikki Wilson Cup,” she said.
“We have competitions running five nights a week with the last time slot starting at 8.45pm so some juniors are not leaving until 10pm.
“Our NetSetGo program looks like doubling this year, we are at 650, up from 375 last year with the program delivered to 14 schools in their afterschool care programs,” McPhee-Smith said.
McPhee-Smith said the hard work is not finished with the Association now having to lobby the State Government for the remaining $3.5 million funding required.
“The Member for Cairns, Gavin King is a patron of Cairns Netball Association and is fighting hard for us,” McPhee-Smith said.
“We are a hard working club and our organisation is volunteer- based so it makes all that hard work worth it.”
Cairns Netball Association also just received a $35,000 gambling grant to build much needed amenities and showers and a $10,000 Get in the Game grant for a participation program and coaching accreditation courses.