MIKE BAIRD MUST SACK SPORTS MINISTER AYRES

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Premier Mike Baird should sack his Sports Minister Stuart Ayres over a botched stadiums policy that will see $1 billion spent on a white elephant in Sydney’s eastern suburbs that fails fans, clubs and taxpayers alike.

In direct contravention of his boss the Premier, Mr Ayres has been pushing for the Sydney Football Stadium (SFS) to be pulled down and replaced with a new stadium next to the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) and encroaching on Centennial and Moore Park trust land. 

Mr Baird has been forced into a public battle with Mr Ayres over the plan being pushed by the Sport Minister which is direct contravention of a cabinet decision in September 2015.

Under the Ayres plan the Sydney Football Stadium’s key tenants - the Sydney Roosters, Sydney FC and the Waratahs – would have played in the existing stadium until the new one is complete.

Instead Mr Baird is pressing ahead with his plan to replace the existing stadium with a new one at a cost of $1 billion, an option that would leave the clubs without a home for up to four seasons. And at 55-60,000 seat capacity a Sydney Football Stadium will be too big for club football but not big enough to accommodate the crowds for international and national marquee events like the NRL Grand Final or Bledisloe Cup.

The NSW Opposition has been pushing for a refurbishment of the ANZ Stadium in the geographic heart of Sydney to be the priority of the Government’s new stadiums policy.

Labor is also calling on the Government to abandon a brand new stadium at Moore Park, instead investing that money into better schools and hospitals. Labor supports a modest refurbishment of the existing Allianz Stadium which would allow the clubs to continue to play there. 

Quotes attributable to Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Stuart Ayres has openly defied a Cabinet decision. He should resign or the Premier should develop a backbone and sack him.

“The Government needs to ditch the white elephant at Moore Park. No one wants it apart from the trustees of the SCG and their new best friend Stuart Ayres.

“Stuart Ayres has statutory authority over Sydney Olympic Park and yet he is pushing for a stadium in the eastern suburbs. He’s completely sold out Western Sydney.

“If the state has enough money to afford to two big stadiums, let’s refurbish ANZ Stadium at Homebush to make it the finest rectangular stadium in the country – and use the remaining funds to build a hospital.”

Quotes attributable to Shadow Sports Minister Lynda Voltz

“At 55,000-seat capacity the new stadium will be too big for club football yet too small for our major events – all at a cost of $1 billion to the taxpayer.”