Sydney Football Stadium demolition can resume, court rules
The Sydney Football Stadium (SFS) can now be dismantled after NSW’s Land and Environment Court dismissed an application to extend an injunction on hard demolition works at the facility.
- Hard demolition works can now start at the 31-year-old stadium in Moore Park
- However, Local Democracy Matters are considering more court action
- The issue of the stadium’s rebuild has become a key NSW election issue
Community group Local Democracy Matters (LDM) and the Waverley Council asked the court to extend an injunction on the demolition until Monday, when their appeal will be heard.
The group had challenged the $730 million plan to demolish the stadium but the court ruled in favour of the NSW Government on Wednesday.
The court said the Berejiklian Government had acted within regulations.
LDM is now considering the option of applying for an urgent injunction in the Court of Appeal today.
An existing injunction on hard demolition until 5pm today has now been vacated.
Yesterday, aerial footage showed diggers and bobcats pulling the interior of the stadium apart.
Thousands of seats have already been ripped out.
The Sydney Football Stadium hosted its final event in September 2018. (Supplied: AusStadiums)
The decision to demolish the 31-year-old stadium and build a new venue on the site has sparked significant political debate for almost 12 months.
The NSW Government argues the stadium needs to be knocked down as it is a safety risk, but the Opposition maintains the money would be better spent on health and education.
Next two days could see ‘a lot of damage’
Chris Maltby from LDM said the people of NSW had made it clear they wanted a say on the issue.
“To the extent that the Government is refusing to let them have that say, it’s even worse,” he said.
“They’ve got the rest of today and Saturday morning [for demolition work] … I’m not sure what they could do in that but if they’re diligent and have lots of people … they could probably do quite a lot of damage.”
Greens MP David Shoebridge said the injunction was needed to protect the stadium until the appeal.
“[But] Her Honour found it was unlikely serious damage would be done to the stadium over the next two days.”
Opposition Leader Michael Daley said community anger over the issue was “white hot”, and if Premier Gladys Berejiklian kept her word, wrecking balls would be at the site today.
“What the Premier should do is wait until the judicial processes have taken their course,” he said.
He called the Premier’s performance at a media conference yesterday, where she avoided using the word stadium despite being repeatedly pressed, a “bewildering failure of leadership”.
Today there was a major change in election campaign tactics for Ms Berejiklian as she paid a visit to the almost-finished Parramatta stadium.
“Yesterday we didn’t know the outcome of the court proceedings,” she said.
“I was asked a number of questions about that and the lawyers didn’t even know about that.”
Ms Berejiklian said only her Government could deliver world-class stadiums, hospitals and schools.
“I stand proudly yesterday, the day before that, today and tomorrow, for the people of NSW,” she said.
The Premier denied she was changing tactics because she was worried the public was being won over by the State Opposition’s arguments that the Sydney Football Stadium rebuild was a waste of money.
Ms Berejiklian has previously said the Opposition Leader was concerned only with cancelling major projects.
In court today, the Infrastructure NSW’s barrister said each day the demolition of the SFS was delayed, it cost the NSW Government $46,000.