$2b for Sydney stadiums just part of big budget
THE NSW government's hotly debated $1.9 billion spend on the refurbishment and construction of three Sydney stadiums forms just 2 per cent of a record $89.7 billion infrastructure budget over the next four years to 2020-21.
With just 72 days until the NSW election and bulldozers gearing up to demolish Allianz Stadium next month, the Coalition's spending has come under the microscope, with the Opposition accusing them of having the "wrong priorities" by funding stadiums.
But analysis by The Daily Telegraph shows the government is spending almost nine times that much on WestConnex - the country's largest transport project at $16.8 billion - and seven times that amount on the Sydney Metro (Northwest and Metro City & Southwest), which is worth a total of $14 billion.
The government claims the huge infrastructure spend will lead to more money going towards public transport, roads, health and education than at any other time in the state's history.
It includes funding for more than 170 new and upgraded schools, 40 new and upgraded hospitals, five new motorways, and a second airport at Badgerys Creek.
In separate money, the government will also spend more than 18 times the stadium amount on wages for frontline public service staff.
Wages for teachers, nurses and police (excluding superannuation) are forecast to be $31.6 billion in 2018-19, and are expected to grow by an average of 3.2 per cent per year over the budget and forward estimates to $35.5 billion in 2021-22.
The government is spending $360 million on the new Western Sydney Stadium at Parramatta, $729 million on a new stadium at Moore Park, previously Allianz, and $810 million on the refurbishment of ANZ Stadium.
"The figures don't lie - the NSW government has its spending priorities right with 98 per cent going to schools, hospitals, transport and other critical infrastructure our community needs," Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said.
However Opposition Leader Michael Daley said he had made it "very clear" the $2 billion being spent on stadiums "should be spent elsewhere, particularly on schools and hospitals".
NSW Labor's election campaign pitch is "schools and hospitals before stadiums" - a message Mr Daley ramped up this week as contractors started dismantling Allianz Stadium.