Hawthorn’s vision to provide a world-class sporting destination for the entire community has taken a significant step forward with the Federal Government today making a $15 million investment into the Kennedy Community Centre.

The Government’s contribution will support Hawthorn’s own investment into the project which will be in excess of  $30 million.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Hon Michael McCormack MP and Federal Treasurer, Hon Josh Frydenberg MP announced the Government’s contribution to the centre at the future site of the Kennedy Community Centre in Dingley Village.

Following the impact of Covid-19, Hawthorn re-evaluated its plans for the Kennedy Community Centre project and made the decision to initially focus on bringing to life the AFLW and community facilities.

Announcing the funding, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack spoke to the significant impact the Kennedy Community Centre will have on the local community.

“I know how important it is to have an inclusive, accessible centre that caters for all levels of athletes, including teams in the AFL, AFLW and VFLW,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“This is why the Australian Government has unlocked the funding to help create a facility with a community pavilion and oval built to AFLW specifications, featuring gender-equal facilities and amenities, as well as flexible education and learning spaces.

“It is being developed with a focus on the key community pillars, which include ensuring greater opportunities for integration, inclusion and diversity.”

Through the Kennedy Community Centre, Hawthorn will provide the local and broader community with much-needed facilities, particularly through the development of the AFLW and community oval and pavilion.

Hawthorn President, Hon Jeff Kennett thanked the Government for their significant contribution to the project. 

“Today’s announcement is a significant step forward in our plans to create a facility in the south-eastern suburbs that the entire community can benefit from and embrace,” said Mr Kennett.

“On behalf of the club and the community I would like to thank the Federal Government for their contribution to the Kennedy Community Centre and this growing local community.

“The City of Kingston is a rapidly growing region and the Kennedy Community Centre will help the greater south-east in catering to changing needs and the increased participation in sport and recreation amongst the community.

“I would also like to thank the City of Kingston Councillors and Executive for their ongoing support of this project.

“The Kennedy Community Centre will become a place that our staff, players, members and the broader community can call home.

“The plans for the centre are built on the Kennedy family’s spirit of inclusion, working together and giving back and we look forward to bringing this vision to life.”

The AFLW and community oval and pavilion will become the home ground of Hawthorn’s future AFLW team, with the club continuing to lobby the AFL for entry into the competition in 2022.

The pavilion will span three levels, with over 500 seats, community and elite changerooms, a function centre, flexible education spaces and broadcast facilities.

The club has received overwhelming support for its vision which has been underpinned by an extensive consultation process with all stakeholders and the local community. With plans for the project approved by Council the site is shovel ready and early developmental work is expected to begin as early as the new year.

The Kennedy Community Centre will feature:

  • A community pavilion and oval built to ensure gender equal facilities and public amenities, specifically for community use and engagement
  • Flexible education and learning spaces enabling delivery of flagship, partnered programs that mentor, lead, educate and inspire
  • An indoor stadium for community basketball, netball, volleyball, and wheelchair AFL
  • A main oval and the Harris Elite Training and Administration Facility which will cater for all Hawthorn teams equally
  • Administrative spaces for community and not-for-profit organisations to share the club’s resources, creating a healthy, inclusive, and cohesive culture through participation and sport

Through its world-class facilities the Kennedy Community Centre will promote equality and social inclusion while facilitating greater outcomes for the community and stronger interaction between the club and its community partners. The project is a wonderful example of various organisations and governments contributing and matching funds to make such projects viable for the betterment of the community.