Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Sporting Venues Authorities Amendment Bill 2017

Sport Stadium

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS ( Ku-ring-gai ) ( 12:10 :14 ): The history of law and sport is a long and chequered one. In the 1970s an infamous defamation case was brought by Clive Lloyd against David Syme and Co. and there was litigation during the establishment of World Series Cricket when there was an attempt to exclude players from the county competition in England. That led to litigation brought by Tony Greig and others. In more recent times there was a case regarding the competition that led to the creation of ANZ Stadium. It was Zhu v. The Treasurer of the State of New South Wales. In that case Chief Justice Gleeson and Justices Gummow, Kirby, Callinan and Heydon started the judgement with these words:

It is a truth almost universally acknowledged – a truth unpatriotic to question – that the period from 15 September 2000 to 1 October 2000, when the Olympic Games were held in Sydney, was one of the happiest in the history of that city. The evidence in this case, however, reveals that the preparations for that event had a darker side.

The judgement described certain contractual disputes between Mr Zhu and the Sydney Olympic Authority. The major object of the bill concerns the stadium built and known as ANZ Stadium that housed the Olympic Games. Many of us were privileged to sit in the stadium and witness the Olympic Games. The original configuration of the stadium seated over 100,000 people. Until recently the stadium was not under full government control. In July 2016 full control of the stadium returned to government. The Sporting Venues Authorities Amendment Bill 2017 formalises full government control and the governance with regard to the stadium.

It places control and governance under the umbrella of Venues NSW. That achieves a broad and important objective. In July 2016 the leasehold rights over Stadium Australia returned to government control. The Government has reached the point where all major stadia are government owned and controlled. I am referring to ANZ Stadium, Allianz Stadium, Sydney Cricket Ground, Western Sydney Stadium at Parramatta, the McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle and WIN Stadium in Wollongong. The consolidation of these stadia provides the Government with the unprecedented ability to bid for and coordinate the bidding for important sporting events. It can attract desirable international and national events to this State.

The bill will facilitate that process. It will benefit the sports loving public of New South Wales and have spin-off benefits for the State. It will enhance the visitor economy in and around the sporting events. It will have community and social benefits through amenity enhancement in the areas surrounding the venues. It will prompt and promote small business in the area surrounding the venues. For the people of New South Wales it will enhance liveability and improve pathways to professional sport for elite athletes. In order to produce and develop world‑class athletes there must be world-class facilities for the athletes and fans.

Each member will recall a great sporting moment that has occurred at these stadia. With the exception of Allianz Stadium and the Sydney Cricket Ground they are now under the governance of Venues NSW. Bledisloe Cup games, rugby league grand finals, cricket games and Australian Football League matches have been played at these venues. Those events will continue into the future. I began this speech discussing the intersection of law and sport. The bill allows the vesting powers through Venues NSW to apply to ANZ Stadium contracts and facilitates the efficient transfer of ANZ Stadium's assets and liabilities to full government control.

It will ensure that Venues NSW's compliance with the vesting orders is exempt from the application of section 45 of the Commonwealth Competition and Consumer Act. Section 45, together with section 46, gave rise to the protracted Super League litigation involving the Murdoch and Packer interests and their control of rugby league. It more recently involved the South Sydney Rabbitohs using the provisions of that Act to prevent their expulsion from the world's leading rugby league competition situated on the eastern seaboard of Australia. The member for Tamworth is present in the Chamber. The member is a passionate supporter of rugby league. When State of Origin is played the member has a regrettable habit of wearing red in and around this place.

Sport is important to the lives of many people. It gives enjoyment and provides a sense of community. Hosting sporting events and facilitating the attraction of new and existing sporting events to New South Wales shows its important role as a procedural bill but there is also a remarkable social consequence and benefit to the people of New South Wales. I commend Minister Ayres for bringing the bill to the House. I commend Minister Ayres for the great work he is doing to attract major sporting events to New South Wales.

I commend the Government for ensuring that there is no unnecessary legal action under section 45 of the Competition and Consumer Act relating to his attempts to attract the best possible events to this great State.

Ms Eleni Petinos: The people of Ku-ring-gai want it.

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS: The member for Miranda makes a very good point. The people of Ku‑ring‑gai are strong supporters of the Wallabies in particular. Many a time I have jumped on the express bus at Telegraph Road and travelled along Mona Vale Road to ANZ Stadium, where I have seen people from my electorate adorned in Wallabies regalia, enjoying the great sporting events at ANZ Stadium, which will now be put under government control.