Prime Minister the Hon. Tony Abbott MP Announces $10 million in Federal Government funding for Rabbitohs Community and High Performance Centre of Excellence at Heffron Park, Maroubra.

Prime Minister the Hon. Tony Abbott MP yesterday announced $10 million in Federal Government funding for the planned Rabbitohs Community and High Performance Centre of Excellence at Heffron Park, Maroubra, in what is a landmark announcement for Souths Cares, the Foundation Club and its communities.

Prime Minister Abbott was joined by The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP, Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson and Rabbitohs player Nathan Merritt in Canberra today for the announcement of the funding for the project.

In conjunction with the Federal Government, Randwick City Council, the National Rugby League, Souths Juniors and Marcellin College, the Rabbitohs and Souths Cares will now be able to move closer to beginning construction on the 5000-square-metre facility at Heffron Park.

The centre will provide a new home for Souths Cares – the community service organisation established by South Sydney in 2007. More than 5,500 young people in the South Sydney district will benefit from education, training, health and employment programs administered by Souths Cares annually, with the Community and High Performance Centre of Excellence to house classrooms from which Souths Cares will run its many and varied community programs.

This state-of-the-art centre will also include a gymnasium, indoor sports arena, a high altitude chamber, rehabilitation pool and a community centre with theatrette seating for up to 120 people.  

This Community and High Performance Centre of Excellence will establish Heffron Park as one of the major sporting precincts in NSW and provide a wonderful sporting and educational facility in this densely populated area of Sydney.

This initiative is in line with the overall development of Heffron Park as a Multi Regional Sporting Precinct and is expected to create employment opportunities during the development of the site, as well as post-completion which is expected to take approximately two years.

Prime Minister Abbott said: “This project will consolidate a number of community initiatives by Souths Cares and expand their community-based initiatives to support health, education and Indigenous employment programs.”

Rabbitohs CEO Shane Richardson said: “This is a watershed moment for the South Sydney Rabbitohs in what is one of the biggest weeks in the Club’s history.

“This announcement goes a long way to realising our dreams of establishing a first class, state-of-the-art community facility and training centre which will be of great benefit to the South Sydney community and the far-reaching programs run by Souths Cares, and we can do it all in the heart of South Sydney.

“We would like to thank the Prime Minister and Federal Government for getting behind this project and they are sure to see the benefits of their investment.

“We’re very excited about this project and we’ve been working closely with Randwick City Council, Souths Juniors, Marcellin College, the NRL and Souths Cares to make sure the plans for this state-of-the-art facility suit the needs of everyone involved in the project, in particular the South Sydney community and the people involved in Souths Cares’ programs. We’ll work closely with community organisations such as the Nathan Merritt Foundation which was announced last week to mentor and support young Indigenous athletes, from not only South Sydney, but right across the country.

“We want to ensure that we can assist Randwick City Council build the best Rugby League Community and High Performance Centre of Excellence and administration offices under the one roof in the NRL, all in the South Sydney district, whilst also providing great community facilities for the people in the South Sydney region.

“Souths Cares and the Rabbitohs have worked closely with Randwick City Council over the past four years so they know firsthand the impact our Club and Souths Cares can have in the community.

“As a Club, we thank the Federal Government, Randwick City Council, Marcellin College, Souths Juniors and the NRL for their assistance in getting this project started and we look forward to a long and rewarding partnership with all parties into the future.”