ACT Government commits $2.7M to turn Manuka Oval into ‘best boutique venue in the country’

Lachlan Roberts 23 September 2019 43
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he wants Manuka Oval to remain the best boutique cricket and AFL venue in the country. Photo: George Tsotsos

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said he wants Manuka Oval to remain the best boutique cricket and AFL venue in the country. Photo: George Tsotsos.

On the eve of Canberra’s historic first test match, the ACT Government has committed $2.7 million for further upgrades to Manuka Oval in an attempt to make Canberra’s premier cricket and AFL oval into the best boutique venue in the country.

ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the Government’s investment will go towards new roof canopies at the northern and southern ends of Manuka Oval which will provide shade for up to 1,000 seats.

Mr Barr said he believes the new upgrades to the 13,550-capacity venue will lure more elite, international cricket, AFL and other major events to the nation’s capital.

“Manuka Oval is a great place to watch live sport and these upgrades create an even better experience for AFL and cricket fans, and have put Canberra on the map as a host for world-class sport,” Mr Barr said.

“This commitment will be delivered as part of our mid-year budget update, so it is an early pre-announcement.

“We surveyed local residents and spectators at the ground to prioritise improvements that will make Manuka Oval a better venue, and the survey results clearly showed we needed more seats under cover.”

Construction will be completed by the end of this year and will be scheduled to avoid clashes with the three GWS Giants fixtures at Mauka Oval this season. Mr Barr said the upgrades will reduce the costs of staging major events and said the Government’s investment into Manuka Oval was with a long-term view.

“It’s not going to hundreds of millions of dollars, and the intent here is not to turn Manuka Oval into a mini-MCG,” he told gathered media on Tuesday morning (29 January). “Manuka Oval will remain the best boutique cricket and AFL venue in the country and will respect the heritage of this venue.

“Our intent is clear that we will be progressively investing to improve this facility.”

The commitment to expanding the number of shaded seats at the venue comes after Manuka Oval’s four-storey media centre was opened last month, thanks to the Government’s $11.6 million funding.

Mr Barr said the Manuka Oval precinct will receive further investment to improve the facilities in the coming years, with toilet and concession facilities highlighted as a priority by the GWS Giants and AFL Canberra.

“The Manuka Oval Master Plan highlights the eastern precinct as one that would be in need of further investment, so that would be an area we’re looking to focus on in the coming period,” the Chief Minister said.

“We are also cognizant of the need to invest in toilet facilities and concession facilities and the sorts of things that improve fans’ matchday experience. We’ll continue to work with cricket and the AFL to work through the list of agreed priorities.”

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43 Responses to ACT Government commits $2.7M to turn Manuka Oval into ‘best boutique venue in the country’
Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:52 pm 05 Feb 19

And a fizzer it was with less than 31,000 attending over the whole period. The best spin the Chief Minister could muster was that it was better than the numbers that Hobart got last time they hosted a test match. There are a lot of factors at play including fact that punters are tiring of paying good money to watch men being overpaid.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 11:13 am 04 Feb 19

From the TV reports, there appeared to be very few people there and in the daily match summaries in the CT the crowd numbers are no longer published.

Looks like it was another fizzer.

Stan Vizovitis Stan Vizovitis 11:11 pm 03 Feb 19

so who got booked attending the cricket

Joe Cortese Joe Cortese 10:55 pm 03 Feb 19

Catch a bus 🚌

    Salvo DeLorenzo Salvo DeLorenzo 9:29 pm 05 Feb 19

    Joe Cortese or build a light rail line.......

Salvo DeLorenzo Salvo DeLorenzo 10:19 pm 03 Feb 19

How about some parking?

Frank Koch Frank Koch 9:03 pm 03 Feb 19

He’s trying to get a job in Melbourne

Max Fotios Begetis Max Fotios Begetis 6:00 pm 03 Feb 19

2.7 mil won't get far. That will be the cost of resurfacing after AFL season.

Jason Preston Jason Preston 3:10 pm 03 Feb 19


Jorge Gatica Jorge Gatica 6:16 pm 02 Feb 19

He’s only doing this to try and get a job with the AFL

Brett Back-Crane Brett Back-Crane 5:59 pm 01 Feb 19

🤬Typical politicians wasting tax payers money AGAIN!. Let's just sweep under the carpet what $2.8 MILLION dollars of tax payers money should really be spent on...

Capital Retro Capital Retro 10:52 pm 31 Jan 19

A few years ago everything was “pop-up”.

Now the buzz word is “boutique”.

They all end in failure.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 5:34 pm 31 Jan 19

“Why would the government invest in low profile sports that don’t generate any income for the city … that’s just simple economics.”

Please tell us all the details of how much money we are making from deals like this.

Vindalu Vindalu 5:21 pm 31 Jan 19

Great move! this local govt isn’t great on minor issues but they have a good grasp of the bigger picture .

Cary Elliot Johnson Cary Elliot Johnson 2:18 pm 31 Jan 19

More money spending for teams that aren't even Canberran.😡

Peter Campbell Peter Campbell 1:24 pm 31 Jan 19

Show Gladys how to do it.

Maelinar Maelinar 11:58 am 31 Jan 19

It will also remain ’boutique’ until they fix the lack of adequate parking issue there.

Its not just a matter of ‘build it, they will come’ they need to add in ‘but if people can’t park there they will stay at home and do something else instead’.

    JC JC 8:39 pm 31 Jan 19

    And yet Saturday’s seasion of the test is sold out. Look like they are coming even with the lack of carparks at the door.

    Capital Retro Capital Retro 7:50 am 01 Feb 19

    Large carparks in walking distance are free on weekends and the workers’ cars that occupy them weekdays are not there on Saturday.

Elspeth Shannon Rollason Elspeth Shannon Rollason 6:55 am 31 Jan 19

Meanwhile our neighbourhood oval is a mess and the local school can’t use it #fixfloreyoval #floreyscullinpagecommunity

Stan Vizovitis Stan Vizovitis 12:16 am 31 Jan 19

They will get the money from all the parking ticket revenue they make there

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 11:04 pm 30 Jan 19

So what's the return on investment?

Graeme Shields Graeme Shields 10:37 pm 30 Jan 19

A “boutique” oval for cricket and AFL to be used how many times a year? When other sports have to go without or make do. So typical of this boutique Barr-stard government and their poncey priorities FFS.

    Ben Jones Ben Jones 10:49 am 31 Jan 19

    what other sports are bringing crowds and supporters of this magnitude to the ACT?

    Graeme Shields Graeme Shields 12:06 pm 31 Jan 19

    Ben Jones thanks for your comment, that’s not the point I was trying to make. Those games at Manuka already draw those crowds for those relatively small numbers of games held there, and that is great, kudos to them for generating and establishing that base.

    But what about lower profile sports than AFL and the PM’s11 that either do or don’t currently have a profile in the ACT in smaller, temporary or makeshift venues that don’t draw as much political attraction?

    And what is a “boutique” oval anyway? Sounds like more of this government’s gentrification of specific areas where they want to solidify their fan base lol

    Ben Jones Ben Jones 12:21 pm 31 Jan 19

    What other lower profile sports are you referring to?

    I think you also better check your figures regarding the crowds for these sports at Manuka also.

    GWS figures have been fantastic with two sell outs, the cricket big bash was a success and the first two days of this test match has now sold out.

    Why would the government invest in low profile sports that don’t generate any income for the city ... that’s just simple economics.

    Graeme Shields Graeme Shields 1:08 pm 31 Jan 19

    Ben Jones at what point in my reply did you completely miss my comment agreeing with you that the Cricket and AFL games there do draw the crowds and I gave those sports kudos for the work they’ve put in to developing the necessary fan base? But if the matches are sold out, which I don’t doubt, then under this boutique plan unless ground capacity is increased then where is the ROI. Also take into account that none of the teams playing in those games are actually based in the ACT.

    I’m not going to name other lower profile sports as any list would be loo long to post or would leave off potentially worthwhile events. But having viewed this thread from the original post some others have been mentioned.

    “Simple economics” would also back the position that supporting sports with potential for expansion and develop potential new opportunities for economic growth, is just as valid as throwing cash at pre-existing political fan bases.

    Graeme Shields Graeme Shields 1:12 pm 31 Jan 19

    Julian Hayes yup, exactly

    Ben Jones Ben Jones 1:15 pm 31 Jan 19

    Graeme Shields what lower profile sports can rise and develop though with a massive injection of funds? What is established enough in this country to gather enough support to make it worthwhile?

    Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, Netball, Swimming?

    The biggest sporting codes in Australia are ..






    Rugby Union

    Where else should it be invested in the capital?

    Greg Nichols Greg Nichols 5:55 pm 31 Jan 19

    Ben Jones- Rugby league and rugby union. Those two teams that are local and give back to the local community, but our Chief minister doesn't give a toss about.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 8:41 pm 31 Jan 19

    Julian Hayes $2b. I assume at school you were either no good at maths, because the contract value is no where near that, or you were no good at English and you ability to comprehend is low. Or possibly a bit of both?

    Grant Grant Grant Grant 3:32 pm 03 Feb 19

    Julian Hayes, check this bloke out ⬆️


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