Saving Moore Park Inc. Letter to Premier - 16 February 2016
16 February 2016
The Hon. Mike Baird MP
Premier of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2000
Allianz v. ANZ Stadium
The Sydney Morning Herald’s report today that you have asked Infrastructure NSW whether building a new replacement for Allianz Stadium would generate any economic benefit is a breath of fresh air.
On 4 September 2015 you announced that your Government’s investment in new stadia will be contingent upon a final business case. However, recent efforts by the Minister for Sport to promote the rebuilding of Allianz Stadium, in the process taking over a large slice of Moore Park, have completely ignored this.
You are to be congratulated for your approach, one that will inevitably result in the Government’s stadium investment being made where the majority of people want it while preserving a vital area of green space close to the city.
Saving Moore Park Inc. was established late in 2015 with the prime objective of ensuring that Moore Park is preserved for the benefit of the wider community. We certainly agree Allianz Stadium could do with a makeover, but we strongly believe that the community is best served by preserving Moore Park intact.
We have established a website http://www.savingmoorepark.com and a Facebook page www.facebook.com/SavingMoorePark and although we’ve only been promoting these for three weeks, more than 1,400 people have expressed their support.
In December, the Government announced a major urban renewal project in Waterloo, with 30,000 more residents around a new railway station. This is additional to a further 50,000 residents who’ll be moving into the Green Square area over the next decade. Such an increase in population density demands the preservation of Moore Park – the largest area of green space close to these developments and the city.
It is inconceivable that the Government would want to spend $800 million in demolishing and rebuilding Allianz Stadium, much less take over a large area of green space to the detriment of the local community, in the absence of a compelling business case. We don’t believe there is one.
Indeed, the proposal would fall at the first hurdle: that of need. If the Government is going to spend $800 million on stadia, then it’s imperative that this money be spent in meeting the community’s actual needs or it will expose itself to criticism that it is diverting funds from health - where it is widely acknowledged there are major funding shortfalls - to fund the construction of a new Allianz Stadium for which there is no demand or economic justification.
The demographic centre of Sydney has steadily shifted westwards over the past decade, and at a time when crowds are dwindling, most clubs’ supporters will find it far more attractive to watch games at ANZ Stadium than to travel much longer distances to Allianz.
Whatever work is to be undertaken there, however, should still be subject to the development of a proper business case. This should address issues such as traffic flows, the adequacy of parking arrangements and public transport, and the impact on Moore Park and on the local community. For far too long such issues have been swept under the carpet and unless they are addressed, the pressures on Moore Park will continue to escalate in the years ahead.
We respectfully argue that any Government investment in stadia should extend to the infrastructure that supports it.
We further believe the business case should be made available for public consideration before the Government makes any final decision on Allianz Stadium. The debacle with the rarely used $38 million Tibby Cotter Walkway, underlines why such transparency is essential.
These same broad business case issues apply to the SCG Trust’s proposal to build a 5-6 story building for the ARU/UTS on the members’ car park. Legislation to permit this was rushed through Parliament last November in a Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. A building of this magnitude - its construction and operation - will have major implications, so it must be thought through carefully before any final decisions are taken.
In this regard, we are deeply concerned that under its Act, any development on land controlled by the SCG Trust is exempt from the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (NSW) and the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW). There will therefore be no opportunity for the City of Sydney Council or the community to express views about the ARU/UTS building, much less object to it.
We would therefore welcome a commitment by you that:
a business case will be made available for public consideration before any funds are allocated for renovations to Allianz Stadium and before a decision is made to proceed with the ARU/UTS building, and that
Moore Park will be preserved in its entirety for the community’s use during and following any future building works undertaken on SCG-controlled land.
Saving Moore Park Inc.