Cash injection for Kardinia Park face-lifting


Australia Geelong GMHBA Stadium Image: Kardinia Park Stadium Trust

The Victorian Government in the Australian State of Victoria has announced a $40 million capital injection into the final stage of the overhauling of Geelong’s GMHBA/Kardinia Park which will raise the capacity of the venue to more than 40,000. Work on the project is expected to begin early next year.

Kardinia Park (also known as GMHBA Stadium due to naming rights) is a sporting and entertainment venue located within Kardinia Park, South Geelong, in the Australian State of Victoria. The stadium, which is owned and operated by the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, is the home ground of the Geelong Football Club and the A-League football club Western United FC.

The Geelong Football Club, nicknamed the ‘Geelong Cats’, is a professional Australian rules football club based in Geelong, Victoria. The club competes in the Australian Football League (AFL), the sport’s premier competition.

Western United Football Club is an Australian professional soccer club. Based in the western Melbourne suburb of Truganina, the club aims to represent Western Victoria, incorporating the western suburbs – urban, regional and rural.

The new funding announcement comes on top of the Victorian Government’s previous commitment of $102 million to the development which will involve the construction of a 14,000 capacity, two-tier Northern stand to replace the threadbare Ford Stand and Ablett Terrace, increasing the venue’s capacity to over 40,000 and brightening Geelong’s ability to attract national and international events.

Announcing that the funding will be included in the State’s 2020-21 budget, Victorian Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events, Martin Pakula, maintained, “Kardinia Park is a much-loved part of Geelong and Victoria and we are proud to be backing its development for the benefit of fans and users now and for generations to come. With new and improved facilities and a bigger capacity, the stadium will continue to attract A-grade sport and entertainment to Geelong.”

The $142 million Stage 5 works will include facilities such as new professional standard unisex change rooms and a home for the Geelong Cricket Club.

Stadium operations will get a shot in the arm through the delivery of a new administration area for stadium and event staff and dedicated sustainability measures.

Welcoming the funding, Kardinia Park Stadium Trust Chair Stephen Gough noted, “We are delighted with this investment from the Victorian Government which will deliver a world-class stadium designed to serve its community.”

The most recent stage of the stadium rehabilitation was completed in 2017 and included the new Brownlow Stand, a community-based rehabilitation center and training and administration facilities for the Geelong Football Club. The Victorian Government contributed $75 million towards those works.

Kardinia Park attracts more than 400,000 spectators in a standard year across a diverse calendar that includes regular Australian Football League (AFL – the pre-eminent and only fully professional men’s competition of Australian rules football), Big Bash League (BBL – Australian professional franchise Twenty20 cricket league, which was established in 2011 by Cricket Australia), Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL – Australian women’s domestic Twenty20 cricket competition), and A-League (the highest-level professional men’s soccer league in Australia) fixtures.

Simon Gorr, Head of Infrastructure, AFL, Australia, is a Member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

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