Wollongong Entertainment Centre upgrade plans to stay secret

Member for Wollongong Paul Scully has been told that Venues NSW considers the KPMG consultation report to be “Cabinet information” and “…there is an overriding public interest against the disclosure of Cabinet information.”

“The Government is hiding behind a technicality to deny our community the right to know what KPMG has said about the upgrade to the Wollongong Entertainment Centre.

KPMG provided the stakeholder report to Venues NSW in 2020 and now we find out it has been the subject, or is the subject of, a Cabinet process which begs the questions of what is being considered by Cabinet, when did Cabinet consider the WEC, and when will the people of Wollongong be informed about what was decided?

“After 10 years of refusing to do anything to upgrade the WEC, the NSW Liberals and Nationals will now do everything to stop the people of Wollongong knowing what is inside an independent, taxpayer-funded report on the future of the Government’s own asset.

“This is just another example of the Government’s confusion, chaos and indecision on the WEC and local jobs which is costing Wollongong multi-million dollar sporting and entertainment events”, he said.

Mr Scully has previously been successful in accessing briefings prepared by a range 8 April 20218 April 2021of government agencies for the Minister for Sport, Dr Geoff Lee MP, under freedom of information laws, including by Venues NSW, which in February 2020 requested “appropriate funding” and “The time to commit to the future of [the project] is now.”

The treasure trove of briefing documents released to Mr Scully in May 2020 confirmed that the Government has been warned that the 22 year old facility was not fit-for-purpose for accessibility and amenity and regularly turns away events with over 1000 participants from across Australia.

Mr Scully wrote to the Minister and Venues NSW Chairman, Mr Tony Shepherd AO last week informing them of the failures of the WEC during a nationally televised National Basketball League (NBL) match last week when the ring collapsed.

“This was the third occasion where a nationally televised event at the WEC had been interrupted and we are scheduled to host the Olympics of cycling in September 2022.

“The Minister has Wollongong City Council undertaking planning work while he’s got a secret plan being considered by Cabinet – it seems no one really knows what is going on”, he said.

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