In a council statement last Wednesday, Byrne – who is a Labor councillor – accused the government of “pork-barrelling” in Ayres’ seat. He said the redeveloped Penrith Stadium would host the Penrith Panthers for 11 games per year, while Leichhardt Oval hosted more than 50 games a year for multiple sporting codes.
“Dominic Perrottet is happy to spend $300 million in Stuart Ayres seat to build a shiny, new Panthers Stadium for the exclusive use of one club.
“But the Wests Tigers, and all the other senior and junior, men’s and women’s Rugby League, soccer and Rugby Union teams who regularly use Leichhardt Oval get nothing,” Byrne said.
The council’s deputy mayor, Labor councillor Jessica D’Arienzo, said in the statement the council was “simply asking for some help” to provide decent facilities for the fans and athletes who used Leichhardt Oval.
“With a fraction of what’s been earmarked for Stuart Ayres’ seat, we can build an upgraded and expanded grandstand, decent catering and toilet facilities for patrons and female-friendly dressing rooms while preserving the heritage Wayne Pearce Hill and Keith Barnes Grandstand,” D ‘Arienzo said.
On Friday, Sport Minister Alister Henskens said the government was consulting on a range of options for the Penrith Stadium redevelopment, which he said would deliver a “state-of-the-art” sporting venue.
“The cost and timing of construction for a new stadium will be confirmed once the consultation is completed and the scope for the new Penrith Stadium has been determined.
“The NSW government remains committed to upgrading suburban stadiums, however, following recent natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, it is appropriate that further investment in stadia is staged,” Henskens said.
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