THE NSW government has sacked the board of Hunter Venues and replaced it with a Sydney-based group.
Sports Minister Stuart Ayres has announced the organisation responsible for overseeing the management of Hunter Stadium and the Newcastle Entertainment Centre will be disbanded, with a single Venues NSW board responsible for overseeing everything from Stadium Australia and ANZ Stadium in Sydney, the WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
“The NSW Government is getting on with the job of delivering the $1.6 billion stadia package, the biggest investment in sport and major event infrastructure in NSW since the 2000 Sydney Olympics,” Mr Ayres said.
He says the Hunter will still be well-served by the new board, which includes Glenn Turner, the chair of the former Hunter Region Sporting Venues Authority and former chairman of the Hunter Medical Research Institute, and John Quayle from the Newcastle Knights board.
While the existing Hunter Venues board only had an advisory capacity, Newcastle Labor MP Tim Crakanthorp says the decision will mean “local experience and knowledge” will be removed from the Hunter.
“We got from a whole lot of local knowledge to one person,” he said.
“The bottom line is that we’re going to miss out on major sporting events because of this change … we’re going to be competing for attention around the table with Sydney Olympic Park.”
But Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald said he believed having one board could help the region attract more events.
“The advantage that I’m hoping for is that because we're being integrated with state-wide stadia there will be one board managing the Hunter, Sydney and the Illawarra, so i actually believe you could have more activity because it's big picture lens,” he said.
Mr MacDonald also said the long-awaited Broadmeadow Masterplan was “close-ish”.
“I don’t have an exact date, but my advice two to three weeks ago was that it was only a couple of months away,” he said.