By Lauren O’Connor
A report for the state government into the management of Sydney’s sporting facilities will be released at the end of May and could recommend a third stadium be built at Moore Park.
The sale of the state’s electricity assets under Premier Baird may be used to fund an $800 million stadium. A leaked report outlined plans for a 65,000-seat complex at Moore Park and an upgrade for Allianz Stadium.
Former Liberal MP John Brogden AM, now the Chairman of Urban Growth NSW, will present the report to Premier Mike Baird. News Ltd reported on May 8 that Mr Brogden is likely to recommend a “super trust be created to manage major stadiums.”
Although reports suggest the plan will be subject to a “rethink”, spokespersons for Sports Minister Stuart Ayres and Premier Mike Baird both refused to rule out changes to Allianz Stadium or Moore Park.
“The Government will consider plans to upgrade sports stadiums in Sydney once it has received Mr Brogden’s report. We have nothing further to add at this stage,” a spokesperson for Mr Baird said.
Tony Ryan, Chairman of the Centennial and Moore Park Trust said the trust reject the proposal for third stadium in the parklands. He said in a press release that community access to playing fields and open space at Moore Park could be affected.
“Moore Park is part of the green lungs of the city, let’s not take it for granted. Just like previous generations over the last 150 years, we must work to protect the Park from permanent loss,” he said.
Reasons for the trust’s opposition included a potential exacerbation of traffic congestion in the surrounds of Moore Park and the loss of green space and the historic Kippax Lake.
“The overall outcome would be to bring more intense congestion to eastern Sydney, while robbing the residents of western Sydney of much needed investment in infrastructure and opportunity,” Mr Ryan said.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore criticised the plan and said demand for more sport fields, footpaths and parklands would only increase with the city’s growing population.
“By 2030, Green Square, which sits on the edge of Moore Park, will be home to 54,000 residents. What we desperately need is more space to play sport, not more places to watch sport.”
Stadiums in Campbelltown, Penrith, Homebush and regional venues in Wollongong and Newcastle may be overlooked in favour of a Moore Park solution. Mr Ayers did not confirm whether a decision has been made.
“I hope that the NSW Government will reject this idea and follow the plans they laid out in the recent Metropolitan Strategy, which clearly says the top priority for new sporting stadia should be Parramatta, Sydney Olympic Park and outer Western Sydney,” a spokesperson for Ms Moore said.
Independent Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich also voiced his opposition following media coverage over the last two weeks.
Mr Greenwich said he hopes Mr Brogden’s report will rule out a “land grab of Moore Park” in anticipation of population boom by 2031.
“Cutting revenue to our parkland trusts and building on the remaining grasslands used by residents for sport and recreation is not an appropriate use of funds. There is already local gridlock when major events are held at the stadia and Moore Park.”
Mark Speakman, Minister for Environment, Heritage and the Centennial and Moore Park Trusts forwarded all inquiries to the Premier’s office.