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Tuesday, March 5, 2013 - 4:24 PM
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West Perth Football Club will have a new Centre of Excellence at Arena Joondalup regardless of who wins the State election after Premier Colin Barnett today announced that a Liberal government would fund the project.

Surrounded by 128 years of West Perth memorabilia as he made the announcement, Mr Barnett said the State would provide $16 million for redevelopments at Arena, which also included a new basketball centre for the Wanneroo Basketball Association and more netball and rugby facilities. The City of Joondalup would provide $4 million.

West Perth has for several months lobbied the State Government and the City of Joondalup to help fund its plans for a $7.95 million AFL standard Falcons Centre of Excellence and Labor recently announced its support.

The facility, to be built where the main gate now stands, has been designed in consultation with the AFL, the WA Football Commission and the City of Joondalup and will make Arena Joondalup a viable alternative venue for AFL NAB Cup matches and AFL practice matches.

West Perth President Brett Raponi said it was a historic day for West Perth and the most important development since the club left Leederville for Joondalup at the end of 1993.

"I would really like to congratulate the State Government and the Liberal Candidate for Joondalup Jan Norberger for recognising the role West Perth plays in the local community," Raponi said.

"Jan has developed a good rapport with the club over a short period of time and I'm delighted he has endorsed the new facility. But I would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Mayor Troy Pickard and the City of Joondalup, who have been advocating so strongly for the funds for Arena Joondalup and the West Perth Football Club.

"This is certainly the most significant development in our short tenure at Arena Joondalup because we now know that we will have a new facility regardless of the outcome of the election."

Among the dozens of onlookers who were on hand for this morning's announcement were young West Perth stars Aaron Black and Shane Nelson, both of whom are likely to get the chance to use the change rooms planned for the new facility.

The Falcons Centre of Excellence will also have administrative offices, coaches' rooms, a members’ bar to cater for 200 people and office space which the club will be able to lease out.

Mr Barnett said local sporting facilities were an essential part of a healthy community and West Perth needed a new home.

"The club has been based at Joondalup Arena since 1994 and has outgrown its existing club rooms," Mr Barnett said.

"The new facilities will give the Falcons the ability to run their own operations in a purpose-built home and secure the club's long-term financial viability."

Raponi said the new centre would allow the club to better support community football clubs in the area, most of whom did not have suitable facilities for their own functions.

He said the efforts of State Liberals Peter Collier and Andrea Mitchell and Federal Liberal Ian Goodenough had also been instrumental in securing the commitment.