In November last year, the NSW government announced that two relatively new sports stadiums in Sydney – Allianz Stadium and ANZ Stadium – would be demolished and rebuilt. This decision received a mixed – but largely negative – reaction from both the public and institutions such as the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA).
Former Victorian premier Jeff Kennett has now joined the conversation, putting the blame on Bob Carr, who served as premier of NSW between 1995 and 2005.
"When we started this process of attracting major events in the 1990s, your premier at the time said, 'No, this is inappropriate, NSW is not going to chase these sorts of events'," Kennett told The Sydney Morning Herald this week. "That was Bob Carr. They lost 10 to 15 years before they started to realise the importance of major events.
"Major events add confidence to the community. When we started this in 1992, our state was run down. We quickly rebuilt the confidence of Victorians in their own state. There is none of that in NSW. You lost 15 years because the government at the time thought it was 'inappropriate'.
"What [NSW premier] Gladys [Berejiklian] is doing now is belated recognition that if NSW is going to be part of this not just national but international world of events, they're going to have to upgrade their facilities. It costs money. I understand the premier is coming under a fair bit of flak, but no state is just about education; it's not just about health. You judge a state on its complexity and totality: sport is very much part of that."
The COX Architecture-designed, 40,000-seat Allianz Stadium at Moore Park was built in 1988. Under current plans, it will be replaced with a $705-million, 45,000-seat venue. On the other hand, the 85,000-seat ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park – designed by Populous and Bligh Lobb Sports Architecture in 1999 – is set to be replaced with a $1.25-billion, 75,00-seat rectangular stadium.