June 6, 2002

Bracks government secures MCG redevelopment

Premier of Victoria

The Bracks Government has stepped in to secure the MCG redevelopment in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, following the Howard Government's decision to withdraw its promised $90 million contribution.

Premier Steve Bracks said the Government would inject $77 million into the redevelopment, with the balance of $13 million to be contributed by the MCC.

"Without the $90 million promised by the Howard Government, the MCC would have been forced to sell naming rights, reduce public seating, or drop its plans to rebuild the Ponsford Stand to fund the redevelopment," Mr Bracks said.

"Tony Abbott tried to sabotage this critical project with last minute funding conditions that would have turned the People's Ground into an industrial relations battleground.

"Why should Victorians miss out because the Howard Government has imposed 11th hour contractual conditions in pursuit of its own industrial agenda?"

Mr Bracks said the preferred tenderer, Grocon, had said it would be impossible to finish the redevelopment on time, and within budget, under the Federal Government's unprecedented conditions.

"I have advised the Prime Minister today that the State Government will not stand by and allow his Government to put this project at risk.

"Together with the MCC, we will complete this project without the Federal Government, and we will deliver one of the best sporting venues in the world.

"It is regrettable that Federal Workplace Relations Minister Tony Abbott - who is not even the minister responsible for the Commonwealth Games - has convinced his colleagues to turn their backs on Victoria.

"Victorians deserved better from Mr Abbott and the Howard Government - and so did the thousands of athletes who will participate in the Games."

Mr Bracks said the redevelopment of the Ponsford, Members, and Northern Stands would take the capacity of the MCG to 100,000.

The MCC will gain an additional 1000 seats on top of the previous increase of 1200, with public seating increased by an extra 500, and 400 standing places.

The Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Justin Madden, congratulated the MCC for contributing additional funding over and above its existing commitment.

"The $400 million dollar redevelopment will take the historic ground into the 21st century and secure its continued role at the centre of the State's sporting life," Mr Madden said.

"It's a pity the Federal Government failed to recognise the importance of this development."

Mr Madden said the tender process was continuing with two bids, from Grocon and John Holland, under consideration.

Today's announcement clears the way for final contracts to be prepared. Construction is set to start within a matter of months.

The Chairman of the MCG Trust, John Wylie, said today's outcome was great news for Victoria's sporting public.

"We are delighted to have finalised the full MCG redevelopment funding package together with the State Government and the MCC," Mr Wylie said.

"This will enable the MCG to continue to be Australia's best sports stadium, and one of the best in the world, for many years to come."