‘Madness’: Picture fuelling city’s rage
THE legal fight to stop the NSW government from pulling down Sydney's Allianz Stadium before the state election is headed back to court today - but new images show the controversial project is reaching a critical stage.
The dramatic pictures show the stadium's stairs - where excited supporters would once walk up to their seats or duck out for a halftime cigarette - being ripped apart by a bulldozer yesterday afternoon.
Previous images showed "soft demolition" taking place inside the Moore Park sports facility, such as seats being torn out and its turf being ripped up.
However, it's clear from the latest images that the NSW government is determined to push ahead with its $730 million plan to knock down and rebuild the venue and do as much of it as it can before next Saturday's vote.
NSW Labor leader Michael Daley - who has been campaigning on a "Schools and Hospitals before Stadiums" slogan - wrote to NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Thursday demanding "hard demolition" be halted.
Despite this, heavy machinery was seen tearing down parts of Allianz on Thursday afternoon - and it has given way to anger.
Vocal critic of the project, journalist and former rugby player, Peter FitzSimons, said it was "economic madness" to "destroy a valuable public asset nine days before the election".
"If it was a private asset, owned by the NSW Cabinet, and there was a 50/50 chance that in nine days the value of the asset could be realised, would they have sent the dozers in?" he asked on Twitter.
The Land and Environment Court last week threw out a challenge by Local Democracy Matters and Waverley Council meaning major works could proceed.
The community group immediately filed an appeal in the NSW Court of Appeal which will be heard on Friday.
Supporters of the challenge hope wet weather, predicted for Friday and the weekend, will slow the demolition efforts until the matter is heard in court.
Labor says if it wins the March 23 election it will refurbish rather than rebuild the Moore Park stadium to save hundreds of millions of dollars.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet denounced Mr Daley as "Captain Cancellation" who was standing in the way of progress.