Apr 13, 2019

Media Release – Labor commits $5 million to upgrade historic Henson Park – Saturday, 13 April 2019

A Shorten Labor Government would invest $5 million to upgrade the historic Henson Park rugby league ground in Sydney’s Inner West, transforming it into a multi-purpose sporting facility that would also host major AFL matches.

The upgrade to the home of the Newtown Jets NSW Cup team would be part of a unique cross-code arrangement under which the ground would also be used for AFL by the Sydney Swans Reserves.

And in a critical breakthrough for women’s sport, the project would include construction of female change rooms, allowing Henson Park to host the GWS women’s AFLW team, a future Sydney Swans women’s team and the Cronulla Sharks NRL women’s team.

With professional sport increasingly dominated by elite national competitions and mega-stadiums, Federal Labor values that suburban sporting facilities continue to perform a vital role in our communities.

These smaller grounds not only facilitate participation in healthy physical activity for people of all ages, but also enrich communities by bringing neighbours together to support their local teams.

In recent years Henson Park has had great success in attracting big crowds for Newtown Jets matches by marketing itself to families seeking the experience of “old school’’ suburban football.

A Shorten Labor Government would focus on supporting community sporting infrastructure and, in particular, prioritise investment in facilities that encourage greater female participation in sport, such as female-friendly change rooms.

It is important that all levels of  government work together to drive increasing participation in sport by women and girls and the provision of the right infrastructure is a critical part of that effort.

Federal Labor’s $5 million commitment to the Henson Park upgrade would be in addition to $2 million already allocated to the project by the Inner West Council, the Newtown Jets and the AFL NSW/ACT.

The upgrade will also allow the ground to host junior rugby league and AFL matches and coaching clinics for teams across Sydney’s Inner West.

This project is a winner all round – for the two major football codes, for female participation on sport and for the entire community of the Inner West.

Plans include:

  • Upgrading the King George V Memorial Grandstand including change rooms, amenities, medical and umpiring facilities as well as spectator facilities and disability access.
  • Constructing two additional change rooms, community meeting rooms and a gymnasium.
  • Upgrading the broadcast, coaches’ boxes and officials’ facilities to facilitate television broadcast of games.
  • Renewing the electronic scoreboard and public address system.
  • Improved food and beverage facilities.
  • Rebuilding the playing surface including new drainage, irrigation, returfing and a goal post system allowing for both AFL and Rugby League.