NSW Government reveals reasoning behind knocking down of Olympic and Sydney Football stadiumsBY JADE MACMILLANUPDATED ABOUT 8 HOURS AGO
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An artist's impression of what a rebuilt Olympic Stadium would look like.SUPPLIED: NSW GOVERNMENT
The New South Wales Government has revealed its multi-billion-dollar plan to demolish and rebuild the Olympic Stadium at Homebush and the Sydney Football Stadium at Moore Park.
It claims the state's sporting infrastructure was falling behind the rest of the country and the announcement will cement Sydney as Australia's number one event destination.
But some members of Cabinet, and other stakeholders, are concerned about the blueprint - particularly given the Olympic Stadium is less than two decades old.
When will work start and finish?
The Sydney Football Stadium will be rebuilt as a 45,000-seat venue. Work at the site will start next year with completion expected by 2021.
Construction on the Olympic Stadium will begin in 2019 before the new venue is opened in 2022. The rectangular stadium, described as the "crowning jewel" of Sydney's sporting venues, will have a capacity of 75,000 people.
Asked whether it would have a retractable roof, Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said the Government still needed to assess whether it would stack up financially.
PHOTO The new Sydney Football Stadium will hold 45,000 people.SUPPLIED: NSW GOVERNMENT
How much will it all cost?
The Government has estimated the cost of replacing the Sydney Football Stadium at $705 million, and the Olympic Stadium at $1.25 billion, subject to a tendering process.
That figure does not include about $300 million to rebuild Parramatta Stadium or the $200 million spent buying back the Olympic Stadium lease, bringing the total cost of the package to about $2.5 billion.
It is significantly higher than the $1.6 billion package first unveiled by former premier Mike Baird in 2016.
Why is the Olympic Stadium being knocked down?
The stadium at Homebush was purpose built for the 2000 Sydney Olympics at a cost of $690 million and has since played host to some of Australia's greatest sporting moments.
Originally designed for 110,000 spectators, it was later reconfigured to a reduced capacity of 83,500.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian thinks it is approaching its used-by date.
PHOTO The rebuilt Olympic Stadium has been described as a "crowning jewel".SUPPLIED: NSW GOVERNMENT
"By the time we start construction it would be nearly 20 years old and that was built for an Olympics, it wasn't built for modern, global events and it wasn't built for spectators," she said.
That claim has drawn criticism from former Labor premier Bob Carr, who oversaw the construction of the venue.
"If anyone had said when we made the commitment to Olympic facilities that in the case of the big stadium it would be there for only 17 years and a new one would have to be built, people wouldn't have believed us," he said.
What about the Sydney Football Stadium (SFS)?
Sport Minister Mr Ayres said the SFS had come to the end of its life and it was now only "borderline safe".
He said it also lacked enough female toilets and seats for disabled fans.
"I am not going to be a Sports Minister that locks out women and people with a disability from coming to experience the best sport and entertainment here in NSW," he said.
Both Opposition Leader Luke Foley and Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore have criticised the decision, arguing the Moore Park venue does not host the state's biggest games and therefore does not need an overhaul.
What does it mean for the major sports?
The package includes a deal to keep the NRL grand final in NSW for the next 25 years.
In 2020, when both stadiums are under construction, the event will be held at the Sydney Cricket Ground instead.
In 2021 and 2022 it will be played at the SFS before returning to the Olympic Stadium in 2023.
Olympic Stadium's best momentsExpand
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg welcomed the announcement, saying it was a "momentous day" for players and fans.
The Sydney Cricket Ground Trust, which controls the SFS, said the plan was "common sense" and without the extra investment the venue would have shut down.
The plan has also been applauded by organisations including Rugby Australia, Football Federation Australia and Cricket NSW.
Mr Ayres said the Government would work with the tenants of both existing venues to find alternative locations while they are under construction.
What will be the political fallout?
The decision-making process up until this point has been messy and the Premier will be hoping the new announcement puts an end to it.
While she insists the plan has broad Government support, it is understood several ministers expressed concerns about the cost during a recent "robust" Cabinet meeting.
Mr Foley is already looking to use the issue to his political advantage, arguing that while the Olympic Stadium rebuild is needed, the work at the SFS is a waste of money.
"I've always said west before east because that's where the people are," he said on Friday.
He will try to make the issue a point of difference in the run up to the 2019 state election.
POSTED YESTERDAY AT 1:36PM