The reconstruction will take at least 2.5 years. The plan is larger in scope and significantly more costly than the vision put forward by former premier Mike Baird in 2016, which would have seen the two stadiums refurbished only. A $300 million redevelopment of Parramatta Stadium due to be completed by 2019, combined with the government’s $200 million purchase of the Olympic stadium, brings the total cost to $2.5 billion.
This is a big investment and some opposition leaders are expected to adopt a critical attitude. “The government of the state is going to prioritise spending hundreds of millions of dollars on a white elephant stadium in the eastern suburbs of Sydney that won’t host the biggest games,” NSW Labor leader Luke Foley said. “I can’t and won’t support $2.5 billion on a couple of sporting stadiums when there are 100,000 school kids being taught in demountable classrooms,” he added. Sports Minister Stuart Ayres backed that option and has spent almost two years tying himself into knots advocating various positions that would get it over the line.