A Sydney court has dismissed a legal challenge to the New South Wales government’s $730 million plan to demolish and rebuild the Sydney Football Stadium at Moore Park.
Community group Local Democracy Matters and the Waverley Council launched a legal challenge to the government’s plan to knock down and rebuild the stadium, arguing the planning process was flawed.
But the Land and Environment Court on Wednesday found the government had complied with the planning requirements.
An injunction on the hard demolition of the stadium is still in place, while Local Democracy Matters and Waverley Council consider their appeal options.
The court had previously issued an injunction on the hard demolition of the stadium until this Friday, only two weeks before the NSW election.
Thousands of seats have already been ripped out of the stadium.
Government urged to hold off demolition
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet welcomed the court’s decision.
“We will now focus on getting on with the job of delivering a world-class stadium for the people of NSW,” he said.
Opposition leader Michael Daley said this was not the end of the battle to stop the stadium’s demolition.
“What this means now is that the only people that can save this stadium are the people of NSW,” he said.
“And so I say to the people of NSW today your vote is now worth $2.2 billion.
“Only a government that is dripping with arrogance would send the wrecking balls in with 18 days to go to the election … it would be completely without morals for the premier to move in and knock that thing down with 18 days to go before the election.”
Appeal still on the cards
Chris Maltby from Local Democracy Matters joined Mr Daley’s call to hold off on the demolition of the stadium until after the election.
“We’d like to see the premier as an act of good faith take the steps not to do anything. It’s only two weeks to the election,” he said.
“We thought we had a very strong case. I’m not ruling out the possibility of an appeal.”
Greens Upper House MP David Shoebridge said he and the community would take extreme steps to stop the demolition.
“The community anger is growing, the community opposition is growing, and I can tell you now if this premier thinks she can send wrecking balls in tomorrow afternoon, well it won’t just be me standing there,” he said.
“I think … many members of the community [will be] putting themselves between an arrogant premier and a billion dollars wasted of public money.
“If they seek to put in the wreckers … I, the local community are likely to be there in a civil disobedience and picket to stop the demolition of this stadium either in court or on the streets.”
Lawyers for Local Democracy Matters and Waverley Council argued the NSW government had failed to follow its own rules on public consultation and design excellence, and to consider contaminated soil at the Moore Park site.
The barrister for Infrastructure New South Wales, Sandra Duggan SC, had previously told the court that every day the hard demolition was delayed cost her client $46,000 and a delay of even a week or two would jeopardise the completion date of June 30, 2020.
Labor leader Michael Daley has previously said if his party wins the upcoming election they will not rebuild the stadium.
The matter will return to court on Thursday.