Northern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils shares Hornsby Shire’s shock over NSW Government funding backflip

Hornsby Shire Council

Mayor standing on front of microphone stand and information board

The Northern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (NSROC) is echoing the shock and disappointment expressed by Hornsby Shire Council after the NSW Government’s announcement of the withdrawal of critical sports facility funding for Westleigh Park last week.

In a surprise media release last Monday, the NSW Government announced the claw back of $36m of a $40m grant awarded to Hornsby Shire Council for the provision of a much-needed sport and recreation facility at Westleigh that would service the entire NSROC area.

The state government’s announcement came within six months of the publication of NSROC’s Review of Supply and Demand for Sports Facilities in the NSROC Region that outlines a critical need to increase the current supply capacity of NSROC sports facilities by 40% by 2026 (equivalent to 181Ha of total space) and 49% by 2036 (equivalent to 222Ha of total space) to meet projected population growth figures for the area. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the NSROC Review recently won the NSW Parks and Leisure Research Award for Excellence and its evidence-based findings should not be ignored.

NSROC President and Mosman Mayor Cr Carolyn Corrigan expressed her dismay at the recission of funding: “I’m deeply disappointed to learn that the state government and relevant ministers have evidently thrown our report on sports facility supply in the nearest bin and completely turned their backs on the sporting communities of the Northern Sydney Region.

“Every Council in the NSROC area is under increasing pressure to take on additional housing. The State Government has failed to recognise that Westleigh Park is the only viable opportunity in the Northern Sydney area to address the increasing sporting facility shortfall and is therefore critical for the maintenance of a liveable and cohesive community here.”

Access to sports fields and facilities is a regional issue that affects every Regional Organisation of Councils in NSW and is set to worsen significantly with added density. The Westleigh Park facilities will benefit many other Sydney communities beyond Hornsby.

“Last December I stood at the site of the Westleigh Park development in front of a crowd of local sports groups and state and national sporting bodies who vigorously applauded Hornsby Shire Council’s project,” said Mayor Corrigan. “I’ll be thinking of those future users of the facility, of grassroots sports communities and especially the many emerging young girls and women in sport in the NSROC area as we support Hornsby’s appeal for this much-needed funding.”

/Public Release. View in full here.