The bill for the NSW government’s plan to knock down and rebuild three Sydney sports stadiums is more than half what was spent constructing every venue needed to host the 2000 Olympics and supporting infrastructure.
A report handed to then NSW treasurer Michael Egan in March 2002 calculating the financial cost to the state of hosting the Olympics puts the total bill for “construction and capital works” at $3.02 billion.
This included building Stadium Australia, the Superdome, the aquatic, athletic and regatta centres, Dunc Gray velodrome, the hockey, softball, equestrian and shooting centres and the villages for athletes, media and technical staff.
Also factored into the cost were construction of associated roads, bridges and parking facilities, Homebush bay rail line, Olympic Station and pedestrian areas.
According to the Reserve Bank of Australia inflation calculator, $3.02 billion in 2000 dollars is the equivalent of about $4.61 billion today.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian has announced the government will demolish and rebuild Allianz Stadium (Sydney Football Stadium) at Moore Park, ANZ Stadium (Stadium Australia) at Sydney Olympic Park and Parramatta Stadium at a total cost of $2.5 billion.
When possible compensation to sports clubs, which will be displaced by the construction, is factored in, the cost climbs higher.
This means that the cost of the stadiums plan is set to well exceed half of the entire infrastructure cost for the Sydney Olympics.
When additional tax revenue, private sector spending and federal government and other contributions were taken into account, the report by the Sydney Olympic Coordination Authority states the NSW budget impact of the games was $1.32 billion – the equivalent of $2 billion in today’s dollars.
This means the $2 billion cost of knocking down and rebuilding ANZ and Allianz stadiums is the equivalent of the NSW government’s financial contribution to the Sydney Olympics.
The $2 billion exenditure on ANZ and Allianz has sparked the most controversy, with the NSW Labor Opposition slamming it as “an obscene misdirection of priorities”.
Labor argues the money is better spent on schools and hospitals.
“This government has lost touch with reality and the community,” Opposition Leader Luke Foley said.
“It just goes to show how completely wrong this government’s priorities are that it is prepared to contemplate such an obscene waste of money. The Premier should do the right thing and ditch this decision.”
Sports Minister Stuart Ayres and Ms Berejiklian have argued Allianz is not fit for purpose and that NSW is at risk of losing major events without a rebuilt ANZ. However, the government has yet to release a business case.
Mr Ayres has also argued that the $2 billion expenditure represents one per cent of the $200 billion the government will spend on health and education over the five years it will take for the new stadiums to be built.
On Monday Mr Ayres said it was “utterly ridiculous to try and compare construction costs from the 1990s to today”.
However, the report says Stadium Australia cost $715 million to construct in 2000, which is the equivalent of $1.1 billion in today’s dollars. The government has budgeted $1.25 billion for the proposed knockdown and rebuild of the stadium.
“Our investment is about protecting and growing the $1 billion dollars in economic activity generated annually by ANZ and Allianz stadiums,” Mr Ayres said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.