Reports that the NSW Government is planning to spend $1.8 billion to rebuild two sports stadiums in Sydney have provoked an angry reaction across the MIA.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is said to be backing a plan by Sports Minister Stuart Ayres to knock down and rebuild both ANZ and Allianz stadiums.
Fairfax Media has been told of plans for Allianz Stadium at Moore Park to be levelled in October next year with a new $700 million, 45,000-seat stadium built on the existing site with a view to open it in 2020.
ANZ Stadium is set to be demolished in 2019 to make way for a new $1.2 billion rectangular arena with an opening date in 2021.
Michael Kidd, a Leeton radiologist and Country Labor candidate at the recent by-election, said this shows the NSW Government hasn’t learned their lesson for the swings against them at the Murray by-election.
“We’ve just seen the NSW Government is spending $1.8 billion to rebuild two stadiums in Sydney… a lot of country hospitals are still struggling… what’s more important?”
Mr Kidd said the money would also be helpful to boost regional sporting facilities.
“You could redevelop 1800 stadiums across the state for that amount”.
The NSW Government rejects claims it is favouring city stadiums over regional spending.
“Regional NSW is seeing record investment in our schools, hospitals and infrastructure,” a spokesperson said.
“In the 2017-18 NSW Budget the NSW Liberals and Nationals announced the $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund to turbo charge regional economies.
“This $1.3 billion fund is on top of the 30 per cent of funding committed to regional NSW through the NSW Government’s dedicated infrastructure fund, Restart NSW”.
“The Labor Party left a $6-billion-dollar infrastructure backlog in regional NSW and voted against the poles and wires transactions used to fund Restart NSW”.
NSW Labor leader Mike Foley said he will support a cap of $1.6 billion for stadium upgrades.
“I cannot justify over $2 billion of public money being spent on a couple of stadiums when schools and hospitals should be the priority.”
Helen Dalton, who stood for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party at the a last election, also weighed in on the debate.
“While the Government has managed to find $1.8 billion for upgrading sporting facilities in Sydney, why is it still struggling to commit to adequate hospital, schools and roads funding for our community in Murray”.