The Berejiklian government’s plan to tear down and replace two Sydney stadiums has the strong support of 4 per cent of the state, according to a survey by a market research firm.
And the $2 billion plan is opposed by 67 per cent of respondents, according to the online survey of more than 1300 people.
The survey was conducted by market research and polling firm Micromex Research and Consulting, whose clients include local councils and state government agencies.
The firm’s managing director, Stu Reeve, said he conducted the survey because his interest was triggered by what looked to be a strong public reaction to Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement of the stadium plan last month. For instance, an online petition organised by Herald columnist Peter Fitzsimons has attracted more than 150,000 signatures.
“That evidence and this evidence would suggest it is very out of place with the community’s perception of what should be done,” said Mr Reeve.
The survey gauged the views of Micromex’s existing panel of participants. Four per cent of respondents were “very supportive” of the plan to rebuild Allianz Stadium at Moore Park and ANZ Stadium at Sydney Olympic Park, 9 per cent were “supportive”, 20 per cent were “somewhat supportive”, 24 per cent were “not very supportive” and 43 per cent were “not at all supportive”.
“I think the most interesting thing is that there’s 4 per cent in the top box and 43 per cent in the bottom box,” Mr Reeve said.
The survey also asked respondents why they held their views. The 1320 responses, provided to the Herald, were often detailed and considered.
“Concerts are for the most part downsizing now (using ICC, Hordern Pavilion, Enmore and Qudos Arena instead of ANZ),” wrote one respondent.
“I’m suspicious. Why? Lack of transparency, mostly,” wrote another.
“Upgrades as previously planned would address the issues of fixing amenities and addressing maintenance issues,” wrote another.
Many who were supportive of the proposals agreed with the government the new stadiums would generate extra revenue.
“We have to compete on a world stage,” said one strongly supportive respondent. “Major events to our cities increase wealth and employment.”
Mr Reeve pointed to a survey Micromex had recently conducted for the Inner West Council as an indicator of the depth of hostility to the stadium plan.
When Micromex asked respondents in the inner west about their support for WestConnex, which is most controversial in that area, 28 per cent of respondents were either very supportive or supportive of the motorway.
In contrast, only 13 per cent of respondents to the stadium survey were either supportive or very supportive.
NSW Labor leader Luke Foley, who is campaigning in opposition to the stadium proposal, said the survey results were “proof that the people of NSW are opposed to knocking down and rebuilding two Sydney stadiums”.
“I fear that the Government’s next step will be a taxpayer-funded advertising campaign to try and sell this unpopular stadiums policy,” Mr Foley said.
The Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres, said the government would invest “100 times more” funding into health and education than stadiums over the next five years, and also pointed to safety concerns.
“Action on safety, security and compliance issues will not be determined through surveys,” Mr Ayres said.
“The government has clear advice that Allianz Stadium will not be able to obtain an occupancy certificate past 2019. To ignore this kind of advice from professionals is simply irresponsible.”
The announcement by Ms Berejiklian and Mr Ayres last month overturned the stadium funding plans of former premier Mike Baird. In April last year, Mr Baird said ANZ Stadium at Olympic Park would be refurbished, with any leftover funds from $1.6 billion spent refurbishing Allianz at Moore Park.
The government is already spending $300 million on a new stadium at Parramatta.
Ms Berejiklian’s policy increases the stadium spending from a planned $1.6 billion to at least $2.5 billion, when the cost of buying ANZ Stadium is added.
Mr Reeve said that the survey respondents were “fairly randomised”, but not completely so. “I don’t see it as being problematic,” he said.
The survey asked whether respondents were aware of the government’s plans to rebuild the two stadiums, and whether they had visited either stadium in the past 12 months.
The survey then stated that “the $2 billion investment is intended to modernise the ageing facilities and increase capacity to attract more events and mark Sydney as ‘s number one event destination”, and asked how supportive respondents were to the planned investment.
However, the plans do not increase capacity at the two stadiums.
Seventy-six per cent of respondents were aware of the stadium plans, and 38 per cent had visited either Allianz or ANZ in the past year.