[First filed: 16 May 2010 @ 10:30]
One doesn’t normally associate being leader of the opposition in the London Circuit Soviet with great power or responsibility
But Andrew Barr reckons our own Zed Seselja is jeopardising Australia’s bid for the soccer world cup!
Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said today that the business and sporting communities in Canberra would be reeling today at the news that Mr Seselja was opposed to a $300 million capital investment in the city – the bulk of which would be funded by the Commonwealth – and was also opposed to one of the biggest tourism opportunities ever to come the city’s way.
“One can only hope that his comments today have not materially damaged the Australian bid. Essentially, if the ACT was not a part of this commitment, the whole Australian bid would be in jeopardy, and Mr Seselja needs to understand that before he is tempted to again talk down the city and talk down an opportunity of this magnitude,” Mr Stanhope said today.
Personally I think that when planning white elephants we need to think bigger. The world is full of un-used 45,000 seat stadiums, if we want a tourism draw we need to build this sucker to accomodate at least a quarter of a million people.
We can dig it into the ground as an enourmous amphitheatre! And then we’ll finally know into which hole all the money is going! And the international hotel chains which derive almost all the economic benefit can laugh all the way to the bank!
(Excuse me, I just need to go have a bit of a lie down)
UPDATE: Andrew Barr has been in touch to make the following points:
I think there is a need to clarify some of the misconceptions in this thread.
Firstly, the new stadium would have a permanent seating capacity of 26,500, with the ability to expand to 40,000 through a temporary seating overlay to meet FIFA World Cup standards.
Secondly, the ACT Government contribution is capped at $100 million in today’s dollars. The Commonwealth Government will meet the additional expected $170m cost (again in 2010 dollars). A major stadium of this type would obviously be well beyond the capacity of the ACT to afford by itself.
Thirdly, the ACT’s agreement to part-fund the stadium is contingent on Australia winning the bid.
Fourthly, the construction of a new stadium is a better long-term option than a major rebuild of the existing Canberra Stadium, which was built in 1977 and will require major upgrading by the middle of the next decade. It would also mean less disruption to our leading sporting teams, including the Raiders and Brumbies, during the three-year construction phase.
Fifthly, the new stadium will provide for the needs of Canberra’s sporting community for 50 years from completion of construction.
Finally, there is a difference between one off capital expenditure on infrastructure and recurrent spending on wages and salaries. Nearly 50% of the $3.84 billon annual Territory Budget is spent on salaries, wages and superannuation for ACT Government employees. Over the next decade, more than $20 billon will be spent on salaries for nurses, teachers, bus drivers, ambulance officers, firefighters, police officers, child protection workers, therapists, park rangers, city rangers etc
He was also keen to point out that last year the Liberals had a go at him for not pushing this.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Zed’s office has now been in touch feeling they’re being verballed here. Their position is set out in a media release but basically they’re saying they’d like to know more whys and wherefores before we sign up to the show:
“What we haven’t heard from the government is detailed plans about what type of major sports this proposed stadium will be able to accommodate, what size the the stadium will be after the event and whether it is the most efficient way of providing large sporting events in the ACT.
“One of the concerns would be that the ACT would have two stadiums of similar size capacity right next to each other that would only be able to host sports that use a rectangular field, effectively ruling out major cricket and AFL matches here in the ACT.