23 September 2019

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

| Lachlan Roberts
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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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Capital Retro9:52 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 Retro11:13 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.

Capital Retro10:52 pm 31 Jan 19

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

Now the buzz word is “boutique”.

They all end in failure.

Capital Retro5:34 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.

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

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’.

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 Retro7:50 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.

“The intent here is not to turn Manuka Oval into a mini-MCG,”

Why not? 🙂

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