Scully says Government now out of excuses on Wollongong Entertainment Centre revamp

04 March 2022

The NSW Liberals and Nationals Government now has no excuses left to further delay the upgrade of the Wollongong Entertainment Centre (WEC), Member for Wollongong, Paul Scully said today.

Mr Scully’s comments follow the release of Wollongong City Council’s 80-page report on the Illawarra Sports Entertainment Precinct.


“The Government requested this report and it now has no further excuses to continue to delay the revamp of the WEC.


“There is a Budget in June and there should be money in that budget to fund the detailed design and business case”, he said.


The report finds that the WEC must become a “contemporary entertainment/conference venue that is flexible and provides versatile spaces to cater for a range of events…”


Previous advice to the Government from Venues NSW concluded that the current 23-year old WEC venue was not-fit-for-purpose for accessibility and amenity, and regularly turned away events with over 1000 participants from across Australia.


“This report, and I believe the KPMG report – which was already handed to the Government more than two years ago but remains secret – say the same thing.


“Wollongong already has been the victim of buck-passing, hand-wringing and delays for the last two years.


“The Government has no excuses.  Council has completed the task the NSW Government it to do so now the ball is firmly in the NSW Government’s court to get on with it”, Mr Scully said.


He has been warning for years that Wollongong risked losing multimillion dollar concerts and events to Western Sydney entertainment facilities, including the redevelopment of Penrith Stadium, unless the Government got serious about upgrading the WEC.


Mr Scully said that he was broadly welcoming of other elements contained in the Illawarra Sports Entertainment Precinct report as they largely reflect the concept he has advocated for since the 2016 Wollongong by-election.


This included alterations to WIN Stadium to support concerts and returning the current locked-off training fields to full public use as a potential festival site and high-quality open space.


“There must be a great deal of community consultation in respect of the broader plans for the Illawarra Sports Entertainment Precinct outlined in this report.


“But the concept isn’t radical, isn’t new, and there’s nothing in it that could be seen as too much for the site, or beyond what Wollongong needs and deserves.


“One thing is for certain: there is absolutely no excuse to delay the much-needed upgrade of the WEC any further.


“This must be the priority of the Government and there must be action in the Budget”, Mr Scully said.


He said he had already written to both the Treasurer, Matt Kean MP and Minister for Tourism and Sport, Stuart Ayres MP, calling for masterplan funding.