No plans to tear up more Sydney golf courses: Premier

Half of the Moore Park Golf Course will be turned into a new central park in the heart of Sydney.

Half of the Moore Park Golf Course will be turned into a new central park in the heart of Sydney. Photo: AAP

NSW Premier Chris Minns won’t take a swing at other golf courses amid a backlash over plans to slice through Australia’s most popular public links.

Almost half of the 18-hole Moore Park Golf Course, adjacent to the SCG, will be turned into a new central park in the heart of Sydney, the NSW government announced on the weekend.

The surrounding area is undergoing significant population growth, with 80,000 people expected to live within 2km of Moore Park by 2040.

The premier acknowledges the golf course is extremely popular, attracting more than half a million people every year, but says parkland is scarce.

“The Centennial Park parklands have about 35 million visitors a year,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.

“It’s just going to be used a lot more by a lot more Australians closer to the city.”

Moore Park Golf Club president John Janik challenged the 35 million figure, saying it included people walking to work, not those using it for recreation.

His club’s century-old course provided a rare opportunity for the average person to play a very expensive sport, he said.

“It was made for the public in 1913 because the average golf game was too expensive – we’re always designed for working-class people,” he told ABC Radio.

“This is the only opportunity to play a championship golf course in Sydney (on public land).”

Comparing a nine-hole course to playing cricket on half an oval, Janik said cutting the facility would set the club up to fail.

The public will be able to have its say on the change and guide where on the golf course’s current footprint the parkland is established.

It follows the previous state government carving up Cammeray Golf Course in the city’s north to accommodate the building of the Western Harbour Tunnel.

But Minns said further changes to golf courses were not on the playing card.

“We’ve got no plans of taking over golf courses around metropolitan Sydney,” he said.

Green spaces were critical to physical and mental health, and the proposed park formed a crucial part of the social contract for denser housing, the Total Environment Centre said.

“We can’t let a privileged golf club stand in the way of a liveable city as the population and denser housing grows,” director Jeff Angel said.


Topics: Sydney
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