Plans to demolish Sydney’s ANZ Stadium and rebuild it from the ground up have been scrapped, as Premier Gladys Berejiklian changes her mind on the controversial $2billion policy.
The New South Wales government will refurbish the stadium in western Sydney built for the 2000 Olympic Games instead of demolishing it. The rebuild of the smaller Allianz Stadium at Moore Park will still go ahead.
The plan proved controversial when it was unveiled, with a petition started by ex-Wallaby Peter FitzSimons to reconsider the decision attracting more than 200,000 signatures.
Plans to demolish Sydney’s ANZ Stadium and rebuild it from the ground up have been scrapped, as Premier Gladys Berejiklian changes her mind on the controversial $2billion policy
The New South Wales government will refurbish the stadium in western Sydney built for the 2000 Olympic Games instead of demolishing it
Ms Berejiklian said the decision was based on public feedback.
‘We are a government that does its homework and listens to the public,’ she said.
‘The comprehensive homework means we will be able to deliver two outstanding stadiums for Sydney at the best possible value for taxpayers.’
The revised plan will save NSW about $1billion, according to Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres.
‘This government will not allow NSW to fall behind the other states on sporting infrastructure and the associated jobs and economic boost they provide.’
After being presented the revised proposal it was approved by cabinet on Thursday, reversing the decision to tear down ANZ Stadium.
The NRL had reportedly promised 25 years of grand finals to be held in Sydney under the condition that the Olympic stadium would be rebuilt.
The backflip leaves the door open for a potential relocation of rugby league’s showcase game north to Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.
An artist’s impression of what a redeveloped ANZ Stadium would have looked like
NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley has been touring the state in a big red bus emblazoned with the slogan ‘schools and hospitals before stadiums’.
A recent opinion poll suggested more than half of NSW voters opposed the government spending more than $2billion to demolish and rebuild ANZ and Allianz stadiums.
In response to the criticism, Mr Ayres said the investment in stadiums is ‘significantly less than one per cent of the $200billion the NSW government will invest in health and education over the next five years’.
A report from Infrastructure NSW showed a 75,000 seat ANZ Stadium rebuild would cost $1.33billion, more than was previously estimated.
The revised plan will save NSW about $1billion, according to Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres (pictured centre)
The government then decided to proceed with a ‘better value’ 70,000-seat renovation, costing $810million. The renovations will ensure all seats are undercover.
ANZ Stadium’s renovations are expected to be completed by mid-2021, while a new Allianz Stadium will be built by March 2022.
FitzSimons tweeted about Ms Berejilklian’s backflip, and retweeted comments calling it ‘only half good news’.
He had previously advocated using the money allocated for the stadium redevelopment plan for 100 $10million investments in sport across New South Wales.
NRL chairman Peter Beattie has reportedly fully backed the decision to refurbish ANZ Stadium, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Mr Beattie preferred a new stadium but said he was ‘prepared to compromise’.