Ms JENNY AITCHISON (Maitland)—Congratulations to Maitland City Council for its outstanding stewardship of the $10.5 million Maitland Regional Athletics Centre which opened on Monday.

Unfortunately Parliamentary commitments precluded me from being there, but I had a sneak peak at the amazing facilities which the State Government contributed $5.5 million to. The site includes a 400 m synthetic track and 9 lane track with a 10 lane front straight over the weekend, and it is fantastic! The centre has International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Class 2 certification by World Athletics. It features invisible timing gates for amateur athletes. There are water misting stations for our hot Maitland days, a grandstand with capacity for 600 spectators, 200 lux competition and 75 lux training lighting, physio, first aid and drug testing facilities, a starters/video box, a canteen, outdoor fitness station, playground and an officials area.

The facility will be a game changer for athletics in our community, and has established Maitland as a premier sports precinct. The facility will help drive much needed weekend business into Central Maitland and the Levee, and encourage local tourism.

I thank the Hon Robyn Parker, the former member for Maitland, for her advocacy in obtaining funding!