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NSW Government “inflated figures” to justify new stadium

A parliamentary enquiry in Australia has heard that a key claim supporting the New South Wales Government’s business case for a new stadium in western Sydney was never agreed to.

The Guardian reports that the business case for the $300m redevelopment of Parramatta stadium anticipated that 30 National Rugby League games per year would be played at the new venue but that the sport’s second-in-command has said the league had never agreed to that.

The NRL chief operating officer, Nick Weeks, is quoted as telling the NSW parliamentary inquiry:

“We haven’t given any commitments of that nature.  Where our clubs play their matches will be a matter for clubs to determine.”

The Guardian adds that Lynda Voltz – a Labor MP and member of the public works committee, which is holding the inquiry – accused the government of inflating figures to justify their stadium spend:

“This is what the government has done – they’ve over-inflated figures, the NRL says they didn’t provide these figures.  Where did 30 games come from if the NRL didn’t provide them those figures?”

The report explains that the state government originally planned to knock down and rebuild Parramatta, Allianz and ANZ stadiums at a cost of well over $2bn (US$1.5bn) but has since scaled-back the scope of the works, for example choosing instead to refurbish the ANZ venue, which was the 2000 Olympic Stadium, at a cost of $810m – saving $500m.