Time for government to act on rugby league centre: Crakanthorp

MEMBER for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp has called for the NSW government to uphold its end of the deal and provide $10 million to create a Rugby League Centre of Excellence in Broadmeadow.

The Wests Group officially took ownership of the Newcastle Knights at the start of this month, in a deal underpinned by the group’s promise of $10 million towards the state-of-the-art centre on the current Newcastle International Paceway trotting track.

Under the deal struck with the NRL to buy the Knights, which had owned the club since June, 2014, Wests agreed to invest the $10 million and it was hoped that contribution would be matched on a dollar-for-dollar basis by the state government to build the $20 million facility.

But on Wednesday, Mr Crakanthorp hit out at the government for its inaction on the issue.

“While the Minister for Sport is currently more interested in demolishing and rebuilding existing (stadiums) in Sydney at cost of $1.6 billion, I am calling on the Minister to provide the funds to make a Rugby League Centre of Excellence in Newcastle a reality,” he said.

Mr Crakanthorp said the Centre of Excellence would kick start the long-awaited Hunter Sports and Entertainment Precinct development at Broadmeadow.

“The Wests Group have upheld their side of the deal and stumped up the $10 million, now it’s time for the government to do the same,” he said.

“I have raised this issue with the Minister and in Parliament and will continue to campaign for the Centre of Excellence Newcastle was promised.”