Federal government promise of funds to Knapsack Oval Glenbrook delayed, say Labor

The promised federal government payment for $1.3 million to fast track works on Knapsack Oval could be delayed by seven years, according to Member for Macquarie, Susan Templeman.

Speed up federal funds for Knapsack Park: Macquarie MP, Susan Templeman and Blue Mountains Mayor, Mark Greenhill at Glenbrook.

Speed up federal funds for Knapsack Park: Macquarie MP, Susan Templeman and Blue Mountains Mayor, Mark Greenhill at Glenbrook.

Ms Templeman said she sought assurances from Infrastructure Minister Michael McCormack about the funding to the oval and other projects post the election, and he recently indicated the delay could be to 2026.

Minister McCormack "gives no timeline for delivering the funding, other than to say it will be provided under the Community Development Grants [CDG] Programme for projects scheduled for completion and final payment before 30 June, 2026," she said.

The Labor MP said "the clear impression by the Liberal candidate's [Sarah Richards] media release was funding would be made ... so the project would be completed in one go," she said. "Fast forward to August 2019 and it's a very different story."

But Liberal Senator for Western Sydney, Marise Payne, said Labor was playing politics with this important community project.

"The Morrison Liberal government stepped in to ensure that upgrades to Knapsack Park could be brought forward, not stuck on the never never, and the funding arrangements will reflect that," Senator Payne said.

"Our government is entering into this process in good faith and the funding will be released once the formal funding agreement has been signed."

Ms Payne said a 2026 deadline "has nothing to do with the delivery of individual projects and instead refers to how long the government sets aside funding for the nation-wide CDG Programme".

Mayor Mark Greenhill said "the club and community were led to believe federal funding of $1.3 million would be made available, so we could complete the upgrade sooner than if we were doing it under council's budgeted timeline".

Council allocated funds in its 2019/20 and 2020/21 budget to complete the work in two stages. But the federal funding meant "the project could be completed in one hit", he said.

Mayor Greenhill added the car park and clubhouse upgrades were "shovel ready and can start almost immediately, if the $1.3 million is provided".

"If the federal government doesn't make good on its promise, council will still go ahead with the upgrade in two stages as planned," he added.

Community development grants related to sporting infrastructure have now been transferred to the sports portfolio. A spokesman for Ms Payne said they expected to make the necessary formal agreement with council "by the end of this year".

Senator Payne said she found it "astonishing Cr Greenhill has threatened to knock back the government's package, when it was so well received by the community, including the Blue Mountains Football Club [BMFC].

BMFC president, Dave Smith, said he was "comfortable with how the project was progressing".

And Mr Smith, a former short-term member of the Liberal Party, disputed council was ready to go.

"We've not seen plans for a clubhouse or car park. I don't think the site has even been surveyed. It's been going on for 10 years."

A spokesperson for Senator Richard Colbeck, Minister for Youth and Sport, said he was committed to ensuring the project was delivered in a timely manner.

Liberal candidate Sarah Richards announced in May plans to finance the upgrade of the car park and clubhouse. An announcement had already been made in January for funding to be set aside by council with federal support from Ms Templeman.

A council spokeswoman said concept plans, which provided indicative layouts for both the car park and the clubhouse, have been shown to stakeholders.

"These concept plans are currently undergoing a detailed design phase and community consultation is planned on this, later this year," she said.