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Venues NSW Chair issued warning over viability of Sydney stadium redevelopments

Venues NSW Chair issued warning over viability of Sydney stadium redevelopments
April 29, 2018

The chairperson of the NSW Government agency charged with managing many of the State’s major venues last year issued a warning over the costs and viability of the redevelopment of Sydney’s ANZ and Allianz Stadiums.

As revealed this week by the Sydney Morning Herald, Christine McLoughlin, Chair of Venues NSW, warned that the stadium redevelopment plan would “haunt” the NSW Government until the next election, the head of the government’s own stadium body wrote to colleagues.

McLoughlin’s email, sent to the Chief Executive of Venues NSW, Paul Doorn, as well as media consultants, emerged in a bundle of documents recently tabled in NSW Parliament following an upper house call for papers.

In the email, in which McLoughlin forwarded on an article critical of the spending, she wrote “focussing on Allianz Stadium, what’s the business case and will crowds fill it?

“The $2.3 billion allocated by the NSW Government to rebuild two stadiums will haunt them until the next election,” she wrote in the Sunday, December 10, email.

The documents highlight the anxiety that gripped Venues NSW executives during a period last year in which the NSW Government’s stadium policy was being amended.

Venues NSW manages government-owned stadiums other than those managed by the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust.

Former NSW Premier Mike Baird resolved in 2016 that the government would refurbish ANZ Stadium at Olympic Park to turn it into a rectangular venue, while any remaining funds from a $1.6 billion pool would be spent upgrading Allianz Stadium at Moore Park.

However, after massive lobbying by the influential SCG Trust, NSW  Premier Gladys Berejiklian decided that a new 40,000-45,000 seat stadium to replace Allianz at Moore Park would first be built at a cost of more than $700 million, followed by a $1.2 billion replacement stadium for ANZ.

The NSW Government has since said it will not build a new stadium to replace ANZ , but refurbish it for $810 million.

In September last year, McLoughlin, whose organisation is responsible for ANZ Stadium, wrote to NSW Sport Minister Stuart Ayres to reinforce her board’s “preferred position – the immediate and full redevelopment of ANZ Stadium”.

NSW Opposition leader Luke Foley, a critic of the stadium spending package, said McLoughlin’s email hit the “nail on the head – the crowds will not fill the new palace at Moore Park”.

The documents tabled in NSW Parliament also reflect the deterioration of the relationship and lack of trust between the different entities that manage stadiums in Sydney.

One example saw Arthur Stanley, Media and Communications Manager of VenuesLive, the company that operates ANZ Stadium, writing to McLoughlin and Doorn following reports in September that a plan for a new stadium at Moore Park was being revived.

Stanley wrote “unless the real plan is to cannibalise content at ANZ Stadium, there could literally be seats never sat on in a new 50,000-seat stadium at Moore Park.” 

Images: ANZ Stadium (top) and the 2017 plan for its redevelopment (below).

29th March 2018 - NSW GOVERNMENT ABANDONS ANZ STADIUM REBUILD PLANS, BACKS NEW ALLIANZ STADIUM

13th March 2018 - BUSINESS GROUPS BACK SYDNEY STADIUM REBUILDS AS KEY TO ATTRACTING MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS 

24th November 2017 - NSW GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS MASSIVE REBUILDING PLANS FOR ALLIANZ AND ANZ STADIUMS 

23rd November 2017 - NSW GOVERNMENT TO SPEND MORE THAN $2 BILLION ON ALLIANZ AND ANZ STADIUM REBUILDS

16th November 2017 - COMMUNITY FEEDBACK SOUGHT ON PLANNED NEW PARRAMATTA NEW AQUATIC CENTRE

25th September 2017 - CONSTRUCTION BEGINS ON NEW WESTERN SYDNEY STADIUM

31st August 2017 - VENUES NSW SEEKS OPERATOR FOR NEW WESTERN SYDNEY STADIUM 

25th August 2017 - SYDNEY STADIUM DEVELOPMENTS TO BE FAST TRACKED BY NSW GOVERNMENT

21st July 2017 - NSW GOVERNMENT RELEASES ‘COMMERCIALITY FRAMEWORK’ FOR STADIA

19th July 2017 - POLLSTAR MID-YEAR RANKINGS SHOW AUSTRALIA’S OUTDOOR VENUES ECLIPSING INDOOR ARENAS 

19th May 2017 - MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS DRIVING MILLIONS OF VISITS TO SYDNEY 

8th May 2017 - NEW VENUES NSW BOARD ANNOUNCED TO OVERSEE MAJOR VENUES

15th March 2017 - WESTERN SYDNEY STADIUM WILL ALLOW FANS TO MAKE F&B PURCHASES WITHOUT MISSING THE GAME 

1st March 2017 - PARRAMATTA STADIUM DEMOLITION MAKES WAY FOR NEW WESTERN SYDNEY STADIUM

7th February 2017 - SCG TRUST REVIVES PLANS FOR NEW 40,000-SEAT STADIUM AT MOORE PARK 

8th December 2016 - POPULOUS DESIGN CHOSEN FOR NEW PARRAMATTA STADIUM 

7th December 2016 - ANZ STADIUM ROLLS OUT MASSIVE 2017 CALENDAR OF EVENTS

16th June 2016 - NSW GOVERNMENT BUYS BACK ANZ STADIUM 

14th April 2016 - SYDNEY’S STADIUM DEBATE OVER AS NSW GOVERNMENT COMMITS $1.6 BILLION TO REFURBISHMENTS


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