Shadow Minister for Sport Lynda Voltz and State Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp have slammed the Berejiklian Government’s go-slow on the development of the Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct, with little progress made three years after the precinct was announced.
In July 2017 the then-Sports Minister Stuart Ayres unveiled a draft concept plan for the redevelopment of the 63-hectare site which included a multi-purpose area, multi-purpose fields and a consolidated sports facility, calling the area “a precinct of global significance”.
Despite repeated calls for the Government to get moving on the project and requests for updates from both the Opposition and the media little information has been provided. During Budget Estimates questioning this year the Government refused to provide a progress timeline, merely stating that it was still consolidating responses from its consultation period.
With Australia today learning it was successful in its bid for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Club, Ms Voltz said that Newcastle deserves the upgraded facilities to support these international events.
“Newcastle is in line to host round matches and a quarter-final, which is fantastic for the entire Hunter region,” she said.
“However world-class events need world-class facilities, and with the World Cup coming the Government needs to get moving.
“It will be disappointing if these upgrades are not finished before the Women’s World Cup, which would showcase Newcastle to the world events market and secure badly-needed jobs for the future.”
Member for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp said that the state’s second largest city deserved premier sports and entertainment facilities.
“It has been a staggering three years since the then-Sports Minister waltzed into Newcastle with some pretty pictures and a draft concept plan for the site, but since then the silence has been deafening,” he said.
“There’s no time like the present to move this forward, particularly with the World Cup on its way and large infrastructure projects critical to post-COVID recovery.
“It’s not good enough to say ‘we’re working it’ – show us what you’ve done, because having so little to show for three years of work does not instil much faith.”