Big final plea for more money to fix ‘crumbling’ local sports fields

The NSW government and opposition are under pressure to allocate additional funding to sporting infrastructure in western Sydney ahead of next year’s state elections, with a major lobby group arguing that hundreds of new or upgraded fields are needed to keep pace with population growth keep.

The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue, chaired by former Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief Christopher Brown, said the Penrith local government area would need up to 84 hectares of additional open space over the next 20 years, while the Parramatta LGA would need an additional 51 sports fields would from the current 64.

Parramatta Mayor Donna Davis said there is already a shortage of fields in her community.

Parramatta Mayor Donna Davis said there is already a shortage of fields in her community.Recognition:Walter Peeters

Campbelltown, in the city’s fast-growing southwest, would need an additional 243 acres of land with 121 pitches, the group said. These calculations were based on city council infrastructure reports, projected population growth and rising participation rates in youth sport.

Executive Director Adam Leto said there is a “shocking lack of quality and quantity of community athletic fields” in the West, leading to codes vying for space. He said responsibility for providing and maintaining the assets must not fall solely on councils, adding that in some areas the affiliated facilities are “either non-existent or crumbling”.

Parramatta Mayor Donna Davis said the numbers sounded right and that there was already a shortage of fields in her community — especially with a rising population, growing demand for year-round sports and the increasing popularity of women’s sports.

“It’s a good problem to have,” she said. “We want to encourage people to be active and get involved in team sports, but we need to find some solutions.”

Parramatta's Lord Mayor Donna Davis.

Parramatta’s Lord Mayor Donna Davis.Recognition:Anna Kucera

The call for more funding on the eve of the NRL grand final follows a high-profile standoff between the NRL and the NSW government in which Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys threatened to concede the game to Queensland embarrassed unless it provided $250 million to suburban stadiums.

V’landys told that herald It was paramount that the community sports infrastructure in western Sydney was also upgraded. Big final plea for more money to fix ‘crumbling’ local sports fields

Joel McCord

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