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NSW Government accused of inflating potential fixture numbers to back venues plan

NSW Government accused of inflating potential fixture numbers to back venues plan
August 6, 2018

A key claim supporting the NSW Government’s business case for a new Western Sydney Stadium was never agreed to by the NRL, a Parliamentary inquiry has been told.

The business case for the $300 million redevelopment of the former Parramatta Stadium anticipated that 30 NRL games per year would be played at the new venue.

However, NRL Chief Operating Officer, Nick Weeks today advised the inquiry that the code had never agreed to that, advising “we haven’t given any commitments of that nature.

“Where our clubs play their matches will be a matter for clubs to determine.”

NSW opposition MP, Lynda Voltz accused the NSW Government of inflating figures to justify their stadium spend, telling Guardin Australia “this is what the government has done – they’ve over-inflated figures, the NRL says they didn’t provide these figures.

“Where did 30 games come from if the NRL didn’t provide them those figures?”

The NSW Government originally planned to knock down and rebuild Parramatta, Allianz and ANZ Stadiums at a cost of well over $2 billion but has since scaled-back the scope of the works.

A joint NSW parliamentary inquiry was launched in April to scrutinise how the Sydney Stadiums Strategy was developed, its economic justifications and possible impact on communities.

Weeks told the inquiry that Sydney had suffered from years of under-investment in sporting infrastructure, commenting “unfortunately decades of under-investment and a scattergun approach, driven by political interests rather than coherent policy, has resulted in a network of stadia in Sydney, which is dilapidated.

“It does not provide the world-class experience our fans, members and players deserve.”

Also speaking at the Parliamentary inquiry, Sydney Cricket Ground Trust Chairman Tony Shepherd backed reasons for the redevelopment of Sydney’ Allianz Stadium by repeating fears that fans at the current would be in “frightening” danger if it had to be evacuated.

Shephard said it would take 24 minutes to safely empty the venue at full capacity compared to the global recommendation of eight minutes.

Shepherd advised “in an emergency, patrons face the very real prospect of very serious injuries or worse in the rush for exits.”

He blamed a flaws in its outdated design, saying it could not be fixed by refurbishment.

Shepherd also highlighted inadequate provision of women’s toilets when it should have 335 and a shortage of wheelchair accessible spaces as justifying the multi-million dollar rebuild.

The former NSW Liberal leader John Brogden, the Office of Sport, KPMG, Venues NSW, the Sydney Olympic Park Authority and the City of Sydney have all previously addressed the inquiry.

Infrastructure NSW said the new Western Sydney Stadium rebuild iss due to be delivered under budget at almost $330 million, below the projected $360 million, when it opens in the middle of next year.

Images: Artist's impression of the new Western Sydney Stadium.

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29th March 2018 - NSW Government abandons ANZ Stadium rebuild plans, backs new Allianz Stadium

27th March 2018 - Strategic Plan launched to guide the future of rugby league

15th March 2018 - Sydney stadia redevelopment crucial for Australia’s Rugby World Cup bids

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