The land surrounding McDonald Jones Stadium will be protected from unchecked residential and commercial hotel development, after NSW Labor successfully amended the Sporting Venues Authority Bill in the NSW Upper House.
The legislation brings together a range of sporting and entertainment venues throughout NSW under a single board, including Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle Entertainment Centre and Newcastle Showground.
It also would have allowed the Minister for Sport to single-handedly approve widespread residential and commercial development on Venues NSW land such as the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct.
With support from the crossbench, Labor successfully removed this provision. Any proposal for these developments will now need to be approved by the Parliament.
“This poor attempt by the NSW Government to slip changes through the Parliament under guise of their Venues Bill has been rightly rejected,” Shadow Minister for Sport Lynda Voltz said.
“These changes will ensure sport and the community’s interests will always come first in our sporting precincts.”
State Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said that parliamentary oversight of future development was necessary to ensure the process remained transparent.
“It’s important that a balance is achieved when the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct redevelopment goes ahead,” he said.
“The last thing anyone wants to see is widespread residential development at the expense of providing the world-class sporting facilities New South Wales’ second-largest city deserves.”
Labor was also successful in securing the establishment of a Hunter advisory committee and the mandated appointment of a Hunter representative on the new Venues NSW board, in critical steps to ensuring the progressing the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct is a top priority for Venues NSW.