This month’s State Budget may open the door for an upgrade of Panthers Stadium, or potentially even the building of a new boutique venue in the region.
There’s reports that the Budget, due to be handed down on November 17, will include funding for planning small stadiums across Sydney, including at Penrith.
The National Rugby League has been calling for investment in suburban venues as it moves away from its ‘big stadium’ mantra and re-invests in local tribalism.
With the ANZ Stadium re-build now off the agenda, the opportunity will emerge for the State Government to back such plans.
The Weekender understands the Budget is likely to include funding for business case planning, not specific infrastructure dollars.
Penrith MP Stuart Ayres said a possible new stadium in Penrith has been on the cards for some time.
“Outer Western Sydney has been part of our cabinet endorsed stadia strategy for a number of years now,” he told the Weekender.
“That strategy has delivered Bankwest Stadium, a roof on Ken Rosewell Arena and has the new Sydney Football Stadium under construction.
“Given its proximity to the new Aerotropolis, new and existing transport infrastructure and growth communities, Penrith would loom large as a strong option for any future investment in stadia infrastructure. That’s exactly what I’ll be advocating for too.”
State Member for Londonderry, Labor’s Prue Car, said local infrastructure is a key focus to create jobs.
“Families love our local Panthers Stadium and its electric atmosphere. Investment should always come to local suburban stadiums first,” she said.
“What we need from the NSW Government now is a firm timeline for work to start without delay.”
Penrith City Council, which owns the existing Panthers Stadium, said any upgrades would be welcome.
“Our community is passionate about sports of all codes. Further enhancements to the stadium would open it up to a much greater range of community uses,” a spokesperson said.
“We look forward to receiving further information from the State Government regarding this announcement”.
Troy Dodds is the Weekender’s Managing Editor and Senior Writer. He has more than 15 years experience as a journalist, working with some of Australia’s leading media organisations.