News State New South Wales Sydney stadium documents to be revealed as political foes fight ‘culture of secrecy’

Sydney stadium documents to be revealed as political foes fight ‘culture of secrecy’

sydney stadiums
Shooters Fishers and Farmers introduced the committees, with the support of Labor, the Greens and Christian Democrats. Photo: Robert Brown
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The NSW Berejiklian government has three weeks to stump up all papers related to the troubled Sydney stadiums splurge as the opposition hardened its resolve against the $2.7 billion spend.

And a pack of political foes united on Thursday to form two “super committees” to crack open the government’s “culture of secrecy”.

The stadiums policy will likely fall into the sights of the probes, marking another hurdle for Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her plans for the project.

The Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party introduced the Public Accountability Committee and the Public Works Committee with the support of Labor and the crossbench.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley ruled out demolishing and rebuilding ANZ and Allianz stadiums under a Labor government.

“We won’t have a bar of spending $2.7 billion on knocking down two perfectly functional stadiums and building new ones in their place,” Mr Foley said.

“We won’t be knocking down and rebuilding Moore Park [Allianz] or Olympic Park [ANZ] stadium because there are much greater priorities for NSW.”

Mr Foley said he expected Ms Berejiklian to “capitulate” and backflip on her policy in coming weeks.

The government on Thursday agreed to release a stack of documents related to its controversial stadiums spend within three weeks.

It voted in favour of Labor’s motion to table any document prepared in relation to the demolition, reconfiguration or rebuild of the Sydney stadiums, as well as any legal advice or correspondence with sporting codes.

Mr Foley claimed the government supported the motion because disgruntled government MP Matthew Mason-Cox was threatening to cross the floor.

“They agreed to it in the end because they lost the numbers, because Matthew Mason-Cox was voting with us and then they all crossed the floor on themselves to try and muddy the waters,” Mr Foley said.

He described it as a “humiliating capitulation” for Ms Berejiklian.

gladys berejiklian
Ms Berejiklian said parliament already had the power to investigate such projects. Photo: AAP

Reverend Fred Nile will chair the Public Accountability Committee, while Shooters MP Robert Brown will chair the Public Works Committee.

The first committee will investigate how the government spends its money.

Mr Mason-Cox has been listed as the deputy chair of that committee.

Mr Brown said the second committee, which he tipped to be “nasty”, would likely examine the government’s stadium policy, as well as WestConnex and other major projects.

“It can be examined in enough depth to be able to get to the bottom of some of the questions that we can’t seem to get the government to answer,” Mr Brown told reporters.

It will consider the purpose and need of works, the public value, revenue, and the expected timeframe of any development with an estimated cost above $10 million.

On Wednesday, Ms Berejiklian brushed off concerns about the committee, saying the Parliament already had the power to investigate such projects.

“We welcome that scrutiny because we’re absolutely committed to taking NSW forward and making sure our citizens have the infrastructure they need in the future,” Ms Berejiklian said.

During debate on the motions on Thursday, Energy Minister Don Harwin described the committees as “absolutely ridiculous”.

“It is wrong and the government will oppose it as a matter of principal,” Mr Harwin said of the Public Accountability Committee.

-with AAP

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