The NSW government should implement its master plan for the Broadmeadow sports and entertainment precinct on the back of the successful World Cup bid so facilities can be upgraded in time for the tournament, the state opposition says.
After FIFA yesterday confirmed Australia and New Zealand would host the 2023 event, which will include multiple games at McDonald Jones Stadium and Magic Park being used as a training base, Labor's sport spokeswoman Lynda Voltz and Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp attacked the Berejiklian Government's "go-slow" on the redevelopment of the 63-hectare site.
"Newcastle is in line to host round matches and a quarter-final, which is fantastic for the entire Hunter region," Ms Voltz said.
"However world-class events need world-class facilities, and with the World Cup coming the government needs to get moving.
"It will be disappointing if these upgrades are not finished before the [tournament], which will showcase Newcastle to the world events market."
Mr Crakanthorp said the state's second largest city deserved facilities that matched the Hunter's rich sporting history and achievements of its sports men and women.
"It has been a staggering three years since the then-sports minister waltzed into Newcastle with some pretty pictures and a draft concept plan for the site, but since then the silence has been deafening," he said.
"There's no time like the present to move this forward, particularly with the World Cup on its way and large infrastructure projects critical to post-COVID recovery.
"It's not good enough to say 'we're working it' - show us what you've done, because having so little to show for three years of work does not instill much faith."
The government announced it would develop a master plan in mid-2017, when former sports and now tourism minister Stuart Ayres unveiled a draft concept plan for the site that mooted the potential for a new entertainment centre, indoor aquatic facility, multi-use fields, hotel, commercial spaces and housing.
It recently refused a Newcastle Herald freedom-of-information application for documents relating to the plan.
The Hunter Business Chamber, Property Council of Australia and Urban Development Institute of Australia all last week urged the government to consider implementing the plan.
Ms Voltz said there was likely a "number of reasons" it remained unveiled, including "controversial" elements it may propose and the fact the state still has an acting sports minister, rather than a permanent one, which she labelled "problematic".
She also said the merger of Venues NSW and the Sydney Cricket Ground Trust could be "to the detriment" of the Hunter and the precinct plan.
Mr Crakanthorp said he was "very concerned for regional facilities" after the merger and urged the new body's board members to visit Broadmeadow.
Councillor Peta Winney-Baartz said City of Newcastle was "in the middle of a sports review and a decision on this precinct would help us steer where our own investments are going to be".
Ms Voltz said the government would generate job opportunities if it implemented the master plan.
"It's been sitting there," she said, in response to a suggestion the plan was completed more than a year go.
"The government's had a vision of what they want to do but at the end of the day, just get on with it so at least the local council can make good decisions about where they're going to invest in sport.
"One-in-ten jobs in NSW relies on tourism and events, sport is a fundamental part of the events market and this precinct has your two biggest events facilities in it, the entertainment centre and the stadium.
"It's time they got on with the job to shore up the jobs for the future coming out of COVID-19 because we know it's going to be a long way for the unemployment rates to come down."