A report commissioned by the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust in 2016 claimed that the city’s Allianz Stadium could have been renovated for Aus$18m (£9.8m/€11.3m/$12.8m) – a fraction of the Aus$730m it will cost to rebuild the venue.
The New South Wales government plans on demolishing Allianz Stadium and building a new 45,000-seat stadium that will feature a hybrid steel and wood roof.
The project has proven to be a divisive issue ahead of a state election scheduled for Saturday. The Labor and Greens parties have both strongly opposed the government’s stadium plan but the demolition appears set to go ahead.
Last week, a last-ditch attempt to halt the demolition failed after Sydney’s Local Democracy Matters group lost its latest legal appeal. It came after the New South Wales Land and Environment Court ruled that Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s government did not breach its own planning rules for the project and that the demolition could proceed.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper has now reported that Allianz Stadium could have been upgraded for as little as Aus$18m. The newspaper cited a report carried out for the SCG Trust by Asset Technologies Pacific.
The report says that the stadium would incur “minor non-compliance” issues with “each succeeding iteration of the standards, legislation and codes”, adding that these issues could be addressed through “partial voluntary upgrades over the forthcoming 10-year period” until the next major refurbishment.
Michael Daley, leader of the opposition Labor Party, said the report highlights how the government’s plans are “nothing more than a sham”. Berejiklian has questioned the findings of the report.
“It’s plain wrong,” she said, according to the Australian Associated Press. “It doesn’t even touch the sides of the health and safety changes needed.”
Daley, though, has criticised the government following the release of the report. He said: “I know the Premier today is trying to say, well, they’re wrong as well. It’s their report. It was commissioned by the government. This is not anyone else’s report.
“Let’s not forget the promise in relation to stadiums, exactly four years ago, was that they would spend Aus$600m on stadia … and that Aus$600m made its way up to Aus$2.9bn. It’s back now to Aus$2.2bn.
“Today, another exposé of a report commissioned by the government – by the government – not by anyone but by the government – which did not see the light of day until a parliamentary committee called for it. It says, quite simply, that they could have refurbished that stadium for somewhere between Aus$18m and Aus$130m.”
Image: Allianz Stadium