An online petition opposing the NSW government’s plan to demolish and rebuild ANZ and Allianz stadiums at a cost of $2 billion has attracted tens of thousands of signatures.
The petition, which was posted on Change.org on Saturday evening, has struck a chord with more than 50,000 signatures added by Sunday night.
“We, the undersigned, respectfully call on the Premier of NSW, Gladys Berejiklian, and the NSW Cabinet, to reconsider their decision to knock down two perfectly fine sports stadiums,” the petition reads.
“We are tired of taxpayer dollars being lavished on building facilities for sports big business, while community sport withers on the vine for lack of facilities and resources.”
The petition suggests using the money to “lower registration fees” on children’s sports, and provide funding for community sports facilities.
A similar petition was started on Change.org a week prior, and had gained more than 8000 signatures by Sunday night.
“We the people of NSW call on this deal to be stopped, and at the very least a full business case to be presented in order to justify this use of our money,” the petition reads.
Sports Minister Stuart Ayres defended the proposed spending, saying it will account for just one per cent of government expenditure on health and education over the construction period.
“This government will invest 100 times more in health and education than stadia over the next five years,” Mr Ayres said in a statement to Fairfax Media.
“I say that demonstrates we have our priorities right.
“Our 30-year investment in new stadiums is critical for the long-term success of the visitor economy in NSW,” Mr Ayres said.
On Wednesday, Opposition Leader Luke Foley indicated he would not support the stadiums being rebuilt, saying the money should be spent on “schools and hospitals”.
“I will not allow this obscene amount of money to be spent on a couple of Sydney stadiums,” Mr Foley said.
“When thousands of children in the region are being taught in demountables and thousands of people are waiting months for elective surgery it is a crime that this out of touch government has committed such a huge amount of money on a couple of Sydney stadiums.”
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