Local residents rally against proposed Allianz Stadium concert cap change

Local residents rally against proposed Allianz Stadium concert cap change
Image: Image: Wikimedia Commons


Local residents face the prospect of sleepless nights, further traffic jams and more boisterous punters, as Venues NSW proposes changes to concert restrictions at Allianz Stadium. Nightlife advocates, meanwhile, have welcomed the move.

Venues NSW intends to lodge an application to the Department of Planning and Environment requesting an increase in the allowable number of concerts at Allianz Stadium from an average of 4 to 20 events per calendar year and an extension to the maximum length of those concerts (from 5 to 10 hours). The proposed alterations will also see rehearsal finishing times and sound tests extended to 10 PM. Furthermore, the state government agency is seeking an exemption to the concert curfew for the official Mardi Gras after party.

This news follows the announcement last month by NSW Premier Chris Minns that he supports alterations to the stadium’s concert cap.

“As soon as I saw this, I knew it was ridiculous. So we’re making it right – bringing the world’s best artists back to the world’s best city… Who isn’t crazy in love with that,” he wrote on Instagram, referencing popstar Beyoncé and her hit track ‘Crazy In Love

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Local residents are not in love with the proposal

By lodging the application directly to the Minister of Planning, Venues NSW is “undermining faith in the planning process” and “the consent conditions of the stadium rebuild which capped concerts to 4 per year,” said a spokesperson for Keep Sydney Beautiful, tapping into a long history of scepticism over the transparency of park management in New South Wales and the nepotistic appointments from Sydney’s business elite.

Increased frequency and length of concerts will lead to greater numbers visiting the area during those peak times, and many locals believe public transport will not be able to handle the extra surge in passengers.

A Keep Sydney Beautiful spokesperson said, “the CBD light rail is a woeful transport solution due to its low capacity.”

Keep Sydney Beautiful framed added car congestion as a danger: “Many people drive to the stadium so the 42,000 odd people attending concerts and sporting events will create regular chaos for any commuter in the area, not just residents. This includes emergency vehicles.”

Locals move into the area aware of its sporting history, so they are not against sporting events at Allianz Stadium and the SCG, said Peter Tzannes from the Centennial Park Residents’ Association. Neither are they against annual Mardi Gras festivities.

The proposed changes to the concert cap, however, are a cause of concern, and a step too far, Tzannes suggested.

“The precinct is in danger of being inaccessible if a major emergency were to arise,” Tzannes said. “The four concerts per year limit was set because of the chaos suffered on a regular basis in the area”.

A spokesperson for the Surry Hills Business Alliance said, “what we’re worried about is the behaviour of people – not all people but certainly enough to do damage.”

“Every weekend we see it with people who are drunk and want to carry on at 3 AM. You seem them getting into cars. That’s our fear. A person’s life is very important, more than some concert that lasts a few hours.”

Residents cite noise as a pressing issue, albeit for different reasons.

The Surry Hills Business Alliance said, “we [have] got no objection to people wanting to go to concert venues but they should build the infrastructure so you can’t hear the noise.”

A Keep Sydney Beautiful spokesperson said, “there is a significant population of threatened grey-headed flying foxes nearby and no consideration given to the impact of noise and lighting on them.”

Residents feel that Venues NSW and mainstream media are ignoring their voices.

“I don’t think they care to listen to us,” said the Surry Hills Business Alliance spokesperson.

Keep Sydney Beautiful, meanwhile, told City Hub, “vested interest groups such as SCG Trust and Carsingha, the Gerry Harvey consortium, had the ear of the previous Liberal government not the public.”

Within Sydney’s night-time industry, however, the announcement is welcomed.

Night Time Industries Association CEO Mick Gibb said, “increasing the number of performances at Allianz Stadium Sydney will mean more opportunity for neighbouring night time venues, tourism operators and related businesses to capitalise on an increased footfall. This is a positive step for Sydney’s night time economy and our standing as a global city after dark.”

But all resident action groups consulted reject accusations of NIMBYism. Most believe the drawbacks of the proposal outweigh the employment boost and economic benefits for the local arts industry.

Tzannes suggested that Stadium Australia at Olympic Park is better equipped to host large-scale concerts.

“To properly serve the public,” Tzannes said, Venues NSW ought to “recognise the advantages of using Stadium Australia for concerts.”

“It’s located away from residential areas, it’s closer to Sydney’s centre, it’s better served by purpose-built heavy rail, roads with ample parking and a ferry terminal, and it has double the capacity of Allianz Stadium. Both Allianz Stadium and Stadium Australia are part of Venues NSW.”

Not all residents are against the proposed concert cap change though. Jason Downing, co-president of Saving Moore Park, said the community group isn’t opposed to the lifting of the concert cap, provided there is adequate community consultation and no attempt to alter the already legislated timetable for the abolishment of event parking on Moore Park grasslands.

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