NSW govt defends $2b stadium rebuilds

The NSW government has announced a $2 billion revamp of Allianz and ANZ stadiums to draw major sporting events in the decades to come.

The NSW government has defended spending $2 billion dollars to knock down and rebuild Sydney's Allianz and ANZ stadiums, arguing the works will transform ageing facilities into "investments" for the state.

Allianz at Moore Park and ANZ at Sydney Olympic Park will both be rebuilt beginning in 2018 and 2019, respectively, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Sports Minister Stuart Ayres told reporters in Sydney on Friday.

Each will take three years to complete with $705 million set aside for Allianz and $1.25 billion for ANZ. Both projects will be put out to tender.

A $300 million redevelopment of Parramatta Stadium due to be completed by 2019, as well as the government's $200 million purchase of the Olympic stadium lease, brings the total cost of the stadiums package to $2.5 billion.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore, concerned about further development in Moore Park, says the public interest has been "steamrolled" by the government and the SCG Trust - whose prominent political and business members pushed for the Allianz rebuild.

"The parklands are starved of funds and have to undertake commercial activities while the government seems to have all the money in the world for powerful groups like the SCG Trust," Ms Moore told reporters.

But Ms Berejiklian hit back at the "naysayers" saying they had no plan to take the state forward.

She insisted she'd never spend taxpayers' dollars on a project that wouldn't benefit NSW and noted her government will spend more than $200 billion on health and education while the stadiums are being built.

Mr Ayres said the upgrades would ensure NSW attracted major sporting events for generations to come.

"The SCG will host one NRL grand final in 2020 during the construction phase and we have organised sequencing so that all other grand finals will be played at Allianz (2021 and 2022) and ANZ (2023 to 2044)," he said in a statement.

Ms Berejiklian reportedly faced opposition within her own cabinet - including from Treasurer Dominic Perrottet - but on Friday insisted everyone was confident with the final decision.

"I'm not someone who doesn't deliberate on these decisions and we have done that in a very collegiate way," she said.

The $2.5 billion cost is significantly higher than the $1.6 billion vision put forward by premier Mike Baird in 2016 which would have seen both stadiums refurbished instead of rebuilt.

Ms Berejiklian said "it would have been impossible to host any event beyond December 2019" at Allianz without a complete rebuild.

SCG Trust chairman Tony Shepherd argued his organisation had run out of money after spending $300 million trying to keep the "old and inadequate" Allianz stadium functioning.

Despite their efforts, the businessman said, the stadium's safety reports had become "quite alarming" and if serious action wasn't taken by 2019 Allianz would've had to close.

Mr Shepherd denied the SCG Trust had mismanaged the stadium by letting it deteriorate arguing it was time to "face reality".

3 min read
Published 24 November 2017 at 5:54pm
Source: AAP