Stadium mania in NSW – Opinion

It’s nearly 20 years old – pull it down!

The NSW Government will demolish two large stadiums and replace them with two large stadiums, at a cost of over $2 billion.

The stadiums aren’t very old. Stadium Australia was built for the Sydney Olympics less than 20 years ago. It is now named after a major bank.

The Sydney Football Stadium, now named after an insurance company, is not much older. It was built in 1988.

Both stadiums work well. If they’re a little tired, they could easily be refurbished for a fraction of the cost of a knockdown and rebuild. Yet that is what the Government will do, even as it is cutting back on services in other areas in the name of economy.

To many people, including Government News, this is madness.  Stadiums are important, but not so important that billions of dollars are wasted on slightly better versions of what already exists.

Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore puts it down to a powerplay by the influential SCG Trust and NSW Sports Minister Stuart Ayres. The SCG Trust, which administers the Sydney Football Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground is dominated by on old boy’s club of influential businessmen and retired sports stars.

“The public interest is being steamrolled by an all-powerful SCG Trust and an ambitious sports minister who wants to play with the big boys – and a premier who’s lost control,” she wrote in an opinion piece in The Sydney Morning Herald.

The announcement has attracted criticism from many quarters as an unnecessary extravagance. “Thankfully, NSW also has flawless transport, a surplus of schools, extravagantly equipped hospitals, more parkland than it needs, a housing market that caters to all of us, and a vocational training system groaning with resources,” said Fairfax columnist Jacob Saulwick, employing just a little sarcasm.

The decision comes after years of wrangling over the location and usage of Sydney’s major sporting arenas.

Rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Australian Rules football and cricket are the major sports competing for the use of Sydney’s stadiums (with occasional concerts and promotion events such as US Major League Baseball and American Football).

All these sporting group are also run by an interlocking group of backroom influencers. The public, who pay for all this, are but pawns in the game.

The biggest argument against the new stadiums is the fact that the existing models are underutilised and rarely reach capacity. The new ones will not be any bigger.

The replacement for the existing Stadium Australia will actually be smaller – a capacity of 80,000,  compared to well over 100,000 when it hosted the Sydney Olympics and around 85,000 today. And it will have a rectangular field, meaning it will not be able to host Australian Rules.

Why is this happening? Can anyone give a good reason?

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