The controversial demolition of the Sydney Football Stadium is underway again after an application to extend a court order halting major works was dismissed.
Contractors took little time getting back to work at the stadium, with heavy machinery in action shortly after the judge’s ruling was released at 9.15am on Friday (ADST).
A temporary injunction – in place since February to allow a challenge to the $730 million project in the NSW Land and Environment Court – had been due to expire at 5pm on Friday.
Those behind the challenge applied to have it extended until Monday, when they head to the Court of Appeal in another attempt to stop the controversial redevelopment.
But Justice Nicola Pain dismissed the application, lifting the freeze on major works.
It follows her decision on Wednesday to throw out the challenge based on the planning process to rebuild the city’s biggest rectangular stadium.
NSW Sport Minister Stuart Ayres said hard demolition could now go ahead.
“I expect that you’ll see work taking place around the edges of the stadium and the roofline will start coming down next week,” he said.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the government was “getting on with the job”.
“It will be obvious that the stadium is coming down,” she said.
The project has been a contentious election issue in NSW, where voters go to the polls on March 23. The NSW Government argues the stadium is a safety risk, while the Labor opposition says the $730 million cost would be better spent on health and education.
On Tuesday, Opposition Leader Michael Daley had a fiery on-air exchange with radio broadcaster Alan Jones, the longest serving member on the Sydney Cricket and Sports Ground Trust.
Mr Daley told Jones he would sack him and the other elected board members if Labor wins the state election.
He described the rebuilding plan as a “scandalous waste of money”.
On Friday, Mr Daley called on Ms Berejiklian to wait until the judicial process was complete before proceeding with the knockdown ahead of the election.
“Only someone spectacularly arrogant would send the wrecking balls in to knock that stadium down now, given the anger about this is white-hot,” he said.
Following Justice Pain’s decision, community group Local Democracy Matters – which has led the fight against the demolition – is considering applying for an urgent injunction before its appeal is heard next week.
The group had unsuccessfully argued that NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts did not consider design excellence or soil contamination before approving the project and his government did not exhibit the demolition proposal for long enough.
The NSW Greens are also staunch opponents of the rebuilding plan.
“Regardless of what has happened this week, the case will go on and the argument will be made not just on the streets, not just at the ballot box, but also in the courts,” Greens MP David Shoebridge said on Thursday.
LDM spokesman Chris Maltby, an IT specialist for the Greens, said it would be an outrage if the bulldozers were sent in before Monday.
“If the government does proceed like that, it says everything you need to know about how they’ve carried out this project,” he said.