The Labor party in New South Wales has said it will force the Sydney Cricket & Sports Ground Trust to repay a maximum Aus$644m (£345.3m/€402.4m/$457.1m) loan to continue with the redevelopment of Allianz Stadium, if elected into power at the end of the month.
The plans of Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s coalition government for Allianz Stadium, along with other sports facilities in Sydney, have proved a political battleground ahead of a state election scheduled for March 23. The Labor and Greens parties have both been strongly opposed to the government’s wider stadium masterplan.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said the Parliamentary Budget Office has told the NSW branch of the Labor party that the SCG Trust can repay the loan over 35 years with reduced payments for the first five years. The total value of the loan is said to be Aus$644m with Aus$40m in interest.
The figures include the Aus$85m the government has spent on the planning and demolition process for the facility otherwise known as Sydney Football Stadium. Earlier this week, the planned demolition and subsequent rebuild of Allianz Stadium was put on hold following a case brought forward by the Local Democracy Matters community group.
The New South Wales Land and Environment Court extended an injunction to prevent the demolition of the 45,000-seat venue until March 8, when a final decision is expected on the project. Labor leader Michael Daley has continually maintained the design of the stadium will be more modest and in keeping with the local environment if he’s elected into power.
The Herald said Daley is also not committing to offering the entire line of credit and will instead seek to explore more cost effective models for the project. “We don’t want to see it (Allianz Stadium) knocked down, but if the Liberal Party goes ahead then the cost of rebuilding it will be borne by the Trust and not the taxpayer,” Daley said.
Sports Minister Stuart Ayres has hit out at this stance, stating that Labor’s loan proposal would be “almost impossible” to service for the SCG Trust, which manages Allianz Stadium and the iconic SCG.
“This is a Aus$19.5m annual repayment from a body that has an average operating surplus of Aus$1.5m,” Ayres said. “Labor will bankrupt the SCG or charge people 10 times the price for a day at the cricket or the footy.”
Image: SCG Trust