I’ve noted previously how the NSW State Government has hit ‘peak stupid’ in deciding to spend $2.5 billion to demolish and rebuild the Olympic Stadium and the Sydney Football Stadium, both of which are underutilised.
To make matters even worse, stadiums rebuild is to be funded by proceeds from selling-off the lease the state’s monopoly land titles registry to Hastings Funds Management and First State Super – a move that will very likely see end-users being gouged by the new monopoly owners, with the NSW State Government also losing a reliable income stream.
Now, state MPs have revolted against the stadiums rebuild, labeling it “political poison”. From The ABC:
“I have not had an issue that has boiled up as much as stadia.”
That’s the worried assessment of one unhappy minister in the Berejiklian Government about its $2.5 billion plan to rebuild the Sydney Football and Homebush stadiums.
The proposal has been met with widespread dismay in and out of Parliament.
Anxious ministers won’t speak on the record but they clearly believe the longer the Coalition sticks with the policy the more votes will be lost.
Since December those ministers and plenty of backbenchers have been privately telling journalists just how bad the reaction has been.
“It will kill us,” said one.
“It’s political poison,” offered another.
A senior minister told the ABC this week: “I’m very concerned. This can’t be explained away … I cannot believe it.”
Another said “I’ve had hundreds of emails about our stadia plan. You thought greyhounds was bad, it’s nowhere near this”.
…disappointment within the Government began when the decision was “rammed through” in secrecy by Cabinet.
Despite the growing resentment in Coalition ranks there’s no hint from the Premier that the policy might be ditched.
In a heated exchange with reporters last week Gladys Berejiklian insisted: “That is our policy”…
Stick with it and she faces a growing perception that the Government has become arrogant and deaf to the community.
When I first discussed this issue, I labeled it a textbook example of the broken window fallacy in economics: akin to digging holes just to fill them up again. While the projects might create jobs and increase GDP directly, they will cost taxpayers a huge sum, won’t boost productivity, and will do nothing to raise living standards.
With Sydney suffering from chronic congestion and infrastructure bottlenecks, hosing $2.5 billion on dud projects like this makes as much sense as punching yourself in the face.