A $90m expansion of arts centre: whose bright idea was that?

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For the past two or three years the people who run the Campbelltown arts centre have been agitating for an expansion.

Indeed, council had plans and designs drawn up for the proposed $30 million upgrade.

So, what a surprise it must have been for everyone involved, including the departing director of the arts centre, Michael Dagostino, when the Perottet state government came calling with, wait for it, almost $80 million!

Such a generous funding announcement must have caused mild apoplexy at the top echelons of Campbelltown City Council, because the celebrations were of a rather muted kind.

And who can blame them: such an extension will leave council with a huge new running bill for the arts centre, which currently costs ratepayers around $3 million for salaries and other expenses.

Once the controversial Campbelltown Billabong across the road from the arts centre is up and running council will need to find between $3 and $4 million to run that every year – unless it changes its mind and decides to charge an entry fee.

Campbelltown Billabong Parklands is scheduled for completion later in the year. TOP: The arts centre last November hosting Fishers Ghost art prize.

Not much change from $10 million just for two new projects, imagine that. And that’s before the usual blowouts which will no doubt push the cost of the arts centre expansion to $90 million and maybe even close to a mind blowing$100 million.

However, nobody can blame Campbelltown Council for such a ridiculous decision on the arts centre.

I am not sure how many people have twigged so far but the Westinvest largess is no more than a cynical re-election strategy by the 12 year old Liberal-National government.

Sure, we’ll take the money because we rarely get offered any out here in South Western Sydney, as this publication has been pointing out for almost 10 years.

But what is galling is that the project Campbelltown, and Macarthur, desperately needed funding for did not get a brass razoo, nothing, nada.

The community and justice precinct proposal would not only bring jurisdictions such as the Family Court right here, it would be an economic boom starter like we’ve never seen before.

But these cynical politicians, the same ones who approve new housing developments for tens of thousands new residents here, will not lift a finger to create some good local jobs.

We won’t let the alternative government off the hook, here, either.

Labor leader Chris Minns has had ample time and opportunity to state where he stands on this proposal, as well as the upgrade of our stadium, a sport centre of excellence and a bridge over the rail line at Badgally Road, just to name a few of the areas that need urgent attention in this neck of the woods.

But there’s still time for him to come to the party between now and the election on March 25.

We shall see.

2 thoughts on “A $90m expansion of arts centre: whose bright idea was that?”

  1. Eric, I thought you understood who put the submissions in for WestInvest? Shouldn’t have your first call gone to your pal Mayor Greiss? Only someone in his direct level of influence could have submitted a $90m funding request for the arts centre. Maybe the GM should be questioned… just a thought.


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