Last week the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) within Parliament interviewed the key stakeholders into the Richardson Park project. Their key findings have been the following.
1. The Government did not undertake any consultation with sporting bodies, residents or other interested groups or have any public discussions on upgrading Richardson Park before deciding to do so.
2. The Government did not ask for or receive any advice or analysis on upgrading Richardson Park from any of its Agencies.
3. Of all the sporting groups the Committee heard from, only NRL NT was committed to using the facility, and they indicated that Marrara had been their preferred option.
4. The decision to fund a $20 million upgrade of Richardson Park was approved by the Treasurer following discussion with ‘relevant Ministers’ and did not appear to go to a Cabinet meeting.
5. The assertion that the $20 million Richardson Park decision was based on value for money because the cost of development at Marrara was $100 million is unreasonable as the Department of Infrastructure had costed a suitable but more modest Warren Park stadium at $25 million.
6. The location of a premier rectangular stadium within the Darwin region is a strategic decision for the development of sport so should form part of a strategic plan for the relevant sports and be informed by consultation with the relevant sporting bodies.
7. The upgrade of a stadium within a residential area would impact the residents so should be informed by consultation with those residents.
8. The financial impact of any major sporting infrastructure on sporting bodies or Government expenses should have been considered prior to any investment decision.
9. It is questionable whether the relevant Ministers’ decision to fund an upgrade of Richardson Park conforms with clauses 10 and 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.