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Construction of the Blacktown Leisure Centre in Tatters

29 March 2015

 

Stanhope Gardens was set to become the home of tennis in NSW when the previous Labor government announced the $20 million project last August.

Now Blacktown Council and Tennis Australia are frustrated they have been caught in the middle of a political stoush while the community misses out on the development.

"We were promised the money, but where is it?" Blacktown Mayor Len Robinson said.

As part of the Fair Go For The West campaign, the Rouse Hill Times looks at what the facility would mean for Western Sydney and the Hills community, and where the funding is.

THE PLAN

Stanhope  Gardens was set to be the new home of tennis in NSW, but now Blacktown Council and Tennis Australia have been left chasing $9.5 million of missing funding.

Last year the then Labor government announced funding towards the $20 million project, with the council committing $11.5 million.

The regional tennis facility, which would be linked to the Blacktown Leisure Centre, would include 32 courts, including 12 clay courts and a show court that could seat up to 4500 people.

Now the Coalition Government is saying the funding was "nothing more than a cruel hoax" by Labor.

The council is going ahead with a scaled back 16-court project, while Tennis Australia are still campaigning for the funding.

"We haven't stopped, we've been unrelenting," Tennis Australia government relations and strategic projects manager Robin O'Neill said.

"(The funding) was announced during a caretaker period but we were told it wasn't going to pose a problem. It's disappointing we've become part of a political football."

Blacktown Mayor Len Robinson said the council was told by former deputy prime minister and Labor MP Anthony Albanese the funding was "not an election promise".

"Our population is going to grow from 320,000 to 500,000 – this is the perfect site," Cr Robinson said.

Mr Albanese said the funding had been cut to help pay for the Coalition's paid maternity leave.

"That is why they are not going ahead with the $9.5 million tennis project which had been fully funded in the Labor budget," he said.

But a spokesman for Assistant Regional Development Minister Jamie Briggs said "no provisions" had been made for the funding by Labor.

"Anthony Albanese recklessly announced this project during the election campaign from funding that did not exist," he said.

CHANGE IN PLANS:

What the project was going to include with federal funding:

• 32 courts, including 12 clay courts, show court that can accommodate upto 4500 people and facilities to host Fed Cup and Davis Cup ties

 

What the project will include now without federal funding:

• 16 courts

 

This article was first published by The Daily Telegraph on15/04/2014.

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