Sydney Olympic Games Cost

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SpeakersRichardson Mr Michael; Fahey Mr John
BusinessQuestions Without Notice


Mr RICHARDSON: My question is addressed to the Premier and Minister for Economic Development. Having regard to Opposition claims that the cost of staging the Olympic Games has blown out, was the Opposition given a full briefing about the costs of staging the games?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Davidson to order.

Mr FAHEY: I thank the honourable member for his maiden question and I congratulate him on his maiden speech in this House last night, a magnificent contribution and an indication that he will be representing the people of The Hills for many years to come.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Coogee to order for the third time.

Mr FAHEY: The $1.7 billion budget for the staging of the Olympic Games was clear, conservative and accepted by the International Olympic Committee. The Games budget was not linked to the revitalisation of Homebush Bay, but the decision to award the Olympics to Sydney means that the redevelopment of Homebush Bay will be fast tracked. We will see a planned 20-year program condensed into 10 years, three of which have already passed. The cost of the work at Homebush Bay is also clear. In September 1992 there was a major announcement by the State Government of its plans for the revitalisation of Homebush Bay, an area long neglected, a worn-out industrial suburb to which the Labor Government started to make some changes before the 1988 State election.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Bulli to order for the third time.

Mr FAHEY: Our announcement in September last year was not kept secret. There was a public launch at the Intercontinental Hotel accompanied by a two-page media release. This was followed by a page one story in the Daily Telegraph Mirror which referred in its headline to a $800 million city development plan. As I said earlier, there was also a display at the Royal Easter Show. I note the comments I made in a speech delivered at the Intercontinental at the launch on 9th September last year:
      If we discount the possibilities which will only materialise if Sydney wins the 2000 Olympics, the facilities already planned will cost $807 million. However, $300 million of that amount has already been committed and the remainder will be spent over a period of perhaps 20 years.

That statement was clear and unequivocal as to what was going to occur. We proposed - in fact we are substantially under way with - the building of a major sporting, recreational and commercial complex right in the heart of the Sydney metropolitan area. The Olympic Games will provide an entire residential suburb flowing from the athletes village. The proposed cost of the village is public. Included in the budget are the costs of leasing and refurbishing the buildings after the Games. Included in our announcement about Homebush Bay was a commitment to the construction of the Sydney aquatic and athletics centre - projects that were up and running long before we won the Olympic Games.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Londonderry to order for the third time.

Mr FAHEY: Everybody knows that the winning of the Games will accelerate Homebush redevelopment. The Olympics will provide a major opportunity for Sydney and New South Wales to acquire much needed sporting facilities of an international standard. Let us look at Melbourne. The Melbourne Cricket Ground was built for the 1956 Olympics. It remains a lasting community asset. After question time yesterday the Leader of the Opposition embarked upon his favourite role, that of the great deceiver.

Down he went to the media gallery, down to the gallery below, pretending to be shocked and amazed and, as we have just heard from the Deputy Premier, he indicated that he did not know that the Homebush development was separate from the budget for staging the Olympics. There is no blow-out. The cost of staging the Olympics, already recognised by the International Olympics Committee, has been carefully planned and budgeted as $1.7 billion. The cost of the Homebush Bay re-development, as announced in September 1992 - and I quote from a speech - is $807 million.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Minister for Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs to order.

Mr FAHEY: The cost of the athletes village - $500 million. It is convenient for the Australian Labor Party to roll these figures together and to come up with the big word "blow-out". It is very
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convenient, of course, but it just will not stick. These figures have all been announced over the past year. The fact of the matter is that if Labor is really serious about this it would want us to include the cost of Darling Harbour, which is going to be used for five sports. What about the Sydney Football Stadium? That is going to be used. Why not the third runway or the airport at Badgerys Creek?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Blacktown to order.

Mr FAHEY: Look at some of our competitors for that particular right to host the Games. In Beijing a new six-lane freeway has been built from Beijing Airport into the heart of that city. Was that cost included in Beijing's Olympic bid budget? The simple answer is no. Was the cost of building a major new underground rail link included as part of Beijing's bid? The answer is no. China saw the opportunity of hosting the games as a way of undertaking major infrastructure projects. The same thing happened in Montreal and Barcelona. Those cities in their bids did not deceive the International Olympic Committee. Their bid for staging the Games met all the requirements of the IOC and withstood the toughest scrutiny. Staging the Olympics is a matter different from the re-development of Homebush Bay.

Our bid was sound. There was no deception about the alleged add-on costs for the Homebush Bay redevelopment or for the athletes village. Officials of IOC did look at Sydney's bid, and they looked at it in the context of taking into account the need for a balanced budget, for accommodation for athletes and officials, for essential infrastructure like transport, roads, bridges, ferry terminals, and all of those factors that are part of the $807 million. The only deceit in this whole exercise is from the Opposition. The bipartisanship that was pronounced by the Leader of the Opposition amounted to nothing very quickly. As quickly as he got home, he changed his views - like most other things. He is duplicitous; there is no other word for it.

The Opposition briefing that occurred on 22nd January involved Ministers Baird and Webster; it involved Rod McGeoch, the chief executive officer of the bid committee; it involved Peter Jolly, a senior accountant in the private sector; it involved a number of officers including the Director-General of the Premier's Department; and it was given to the Leader of the Opposition and to a number of other Labor members and some Labor staff. I am advised that at that meeting the Opposition was given a document entitled "The Budget Process and Assumptions", as prepared by the finance commission of the bid committee. It was an exhaustive briefing of the $1.7 billion budget to stage the Games, which had been provided to the IOC in the bid books. That budget did not include any spending on the athletics or aquatics centres at Homebush. They are apart from the development of Homebush Bay and they were released, as I have said, in detail on 9th September, 1992.

I am also advised that at that meeting the remediation and development of Homebush Bay was discussed. It was pointed out that the Homebush Bay Corporation's costs of developing Homebush Bay had been made public previously. The information with regard to the $807 million to be spent there before the year 2000 was widely and publicly available from the launch at the Intercontinental Hotel on 9th September, 1992; and, as I have said also again today, it was exhibited at Parliament House and at the Royal Easter Show. Members have to understand just what the Leader of the Opposition is about each time he expresses his amazement, as he has done since question time yesterday, on this particular matter.

The Leader of the Opposition was full of praise for the bid team, those out there who worked day and night to get these Games for Sydney, including the Minister for Transport, who did a magnificent job. But very quickly he has turned to attacking the integrity of the very people he was praising, by suggesting that he was not aware that the Olympic village is to be privately funded, as we have made clear in this House, or in respect of the $807 million for the Homebush Bay development. As I said earlier, he certainly displayed his true colours when given a briefing in respect of the structure of the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games; and a week later he went out and displayed it all to the public, stating that it belonged to him. That just shows how bereft he is of any thoughts and how he has to borrow them.

If only the Leader of the Opposition could play a role similar to that played by John Brown in the work he did for the bid. His efforts have been denigrated by the statements of the Leader of the Opposition, as have the efforts of the Prime Minister, Michael Easson and Ros Kelly, to name just a few. It is clear the Opposition is not very worried about or interested in what the Olympics are about. It is not interested in what they mean or the inspiration they will provide for our schoolchildren, who will be very much part of these games in the year 2000. The Opposition is not interested in them and does not care.

I now wish to table a number of documents. The first document was prepared by David Smithers, Chairman of the Finance Commission, and provided by way of a briefing to Cabinet which took place in December last year. I understand that a document in similar terms, if not the same document, was left with the Leader of the Opposition in the briefing that occurred on 22nd January this year. The second document is a far more detailed document entitled "Sydney Olympic Candidature - Financial Plan for the Staging of the 2000 Olympic Games", which goes through in some considerable detail exactly what the budget in respect of the Games is about and exactly what the budget is about in respect of the Homebush Bay development.

The last document is the report of the IOC Commission for the Games of the 27th Olympiad 2000, which details the comments it made on the Sydney budget and the budgets from the other cities
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that were bidding for the games. This Government is more than happy to proceed on the basis that it is fully accountable for all that it does and that all dollars to be spent from this point onwards, as I said yesterday in this House, will be the subject of scrutiny by this Parliament and all the other built-in public sector scrutiny factors in this State, including the Ombudsman, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the Annual Reports Act and the Auditor-General.

That will be the subject of a responsible approach by this Government from this point forward to the year 2000 and beyond. The Games are the Games of the people of Sydney and New South Wales and they will be staged in a responsible manner by this Government. All that it does will be open to all people. All of the figures, all of the budgets, all of the documents and all of the plans will be available to allow the people of New South Wales to see exactly what is being done.