A lack of suitable sports facilities has held the Port Macquarie-Hastings region back for years and is the main reason why the Newcastle Jets haven't played here since July 2018.
Even in October last year the Jets planned to bypass Port Macquarie on the way to Coffs Harbour before their pre-season trial was eventually cancelled due to COVID-19 regional travel restrictions.
But Jets chief executive Shane Mattiske has once again thrown his support behind the proposed facility earmarked for Sovereign Hills and how the Jets can strengthen their relationship with the region.
"This is an area that is clearly part of us and they're our people," he said.
"We'd love to be more connected to people in Port Macquarie and we'd love to see more Port Macquarie people connected to the Jets."
It comes after Nationals Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan promised a $5million funding injection, if re-elected, which matches the $5million already allocated by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council.
That $10million will be enough to fund the first of three stages of the facility Football Mid North Coast hope to have fully complete by 2024.
Mr Mattiske acknowledged facilities had been the problem in the past.
"Whilst we'd love to be doing things here, the facilities at this point in time aren't up to the standard that we'd need to bring a professional team here," he said.
But Mr Mattiske reiterated that all election promises needed to be followed through if the club was to seriously consider holding training camps or matches in the region.
"With the right facilities in town, we can start to think about bringing events like Australia Cup games into the region and we know there'd be a huge economic benefit if we could do that," Mr Mattiske said.
"It'd be great for us in terms of fan development and connecting to the people we know support the Jets."
The last time the Jets played a fixture in Port Macquarie more than 4000 people packed into Regional Stadium.
But the fixture was almost cancelled at the last minute due to safety concerns about the lighting levels.
"The thing that's held us back in the past have been the facilities," Mr Mattiske said.
"The fact that [the improvements to facilities] are on the way is really promising, but we need to see that followed through.
"It's exciting to know that government at local and federal level are now looking to support the facility's development, so we encourage that to continue.
"We see a really strong business case for government and we know these facilities will be appreciated by the community.
"They're also going to open up real opportunities in terms of bringing people into this region as well."
Mr Conaghan said the funding will provide "desperately needed" infrastructure to support the growing demand for sport in the community.
"This is something we have been working on pretty much since the time I was elected in 2019," he said.
"We have thousands of people playing soccer here, and we don't have the infrastructure or the facilities to accommodate that.
"A drop of rain almost closes Tuffins Lane... so we need international standards here, we're a city and we deserve it."
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