The transformation was funded by grants from the Australian Government’s Move It Aus program, Australian Cricket Infrastructure Fund and Port Stephens Council.

Port Stephens Mayor Ryan Palmer recognised the positive impact these upgrades would have on the local community.

“The new facilities will enhance the lives of Karuah locals now and into the future by creating a modern, inclusive and accessible space for all — reducing barriers of gender and physical ability,” he said.

“Lionel Morten Oval forms a major part of the town’s identity and sport is an integral part of this community — these new facilities will enhance participation and equality and inclusiveness for all.”

The funding has provided amenities for female participants, accessible amenities for all users, a separate referee room for officials of all genders, grounds to meet state sport association standards and a location for all users to keep physically active and socially connected.

Federal Member for Lyne Dr David Gillespie said he was delighted to deliver the new inclusive facility for the Karuah community and in particular the Karuah Cricket Club and Karuah Rugby League Club.

“People in the region love sport and this facility will be a massive boost for the local sporting clubs, which not only help our communities stay active and healthy but also perform a vital role keeping people connected,” he said.

“The local community has been following the construction, and I know as clubs return to training and kid’s sport recommences on 1 July they will be very pleased with these new facilities.”

Dr Gillespie also praised the work undertaken by Port Stephens Council staff, GWH and all the local contractors who worked so hard to deliver the new clubhouse.

The Karuah Rural Fire Brigade also reached a new milestone revealing a sneak preview of its new Fire Station expected to open ahead of the fire season.

The new station ensures local volunteer firefighters have vehicles, equipment and resources, which are fit for the future.

Mayor Palmer acknowledged the crucial role our RFS play in protecting the local community across the brutal fire season.

“The design of the Fire Station will meet the needs of the local community and its surrounds for many years to come,” he said.