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Public outrage kills Sydney’s grand stadium plan

April 3, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

The NSW Government has done a backflip and dropped its grand plan (enthusiastically endorsed by the Tourism & Transport Forum Australia) to knock down two prominent, working Sydney sports stadiums and rebuild them at stupendous cost.

The proposal struck massive public resistance and was so widely disliked that some in the governing Liberal-National coalition feared it might cost NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian the coming state election.

The NSW Government’s latest plan has scrapped the unpopular idea of demolishing Sydney Olympic Stadium (which is only 18 years old and was the centrepiece of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games). Instead, the stadium will be refurbished.

Sydney Football Stadium in Moore Park will be demolished and then rebuilt at a cost of about AUD 730 million.

Sydney Football Stadium, to be demolished

Pressure was mounting on Premier Berejiklian over the original proposal to flatten the 80,000-seat Sydney Olympic Stadium at Homebush. Cost estimates of the total two-stadium project blew out to well over AUD 2 billion and it became evident that many voters considered schools, hospitals and local sports facilities far more important.

Peter FitzSimons, the journalist, radio and television presenter, author and “the man in the red bandana”, got a petition underway to stop the stadium demolition proposal.

The Tourism & Transport Forum Australia (TTF), however, came out in full support of knocking the stadiums down.

“Sydney cannot be a world-class major events destination without a suite of world-class stadia,” TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said. See: ‘Global events taskforce’ looms over stadium battle lines

The new plan will see about two thirds of the Olympic Stadium refurbished, saving taxpayers half a billion dollars.

“This will change the atmosphere of the entire stadium,” Berejiklian said. “But importantly it will provide a rectangular stadium with fans closer to the action. That is what is required for a world-class stadium.”

Stadium Australia, centrepiece of the 2000 Olympic Games. To be refurbished

Critics wonder why that option wasn’t considered in the first place.

NSW Opposition (Labor) Leader Luke Foley has repeatedly said he will fund schools and hospitals instead of stadiums if elected next year. The issue was fast turning into an electoral hot potato.

Written by Peter Needham

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