Plan to save Leichhardt Oval submitted to State and Federal Governments

Monday 11 December 2023

Inner West Council has written to the State and Federal Governments seeking a joint funding partnership to save one of the State’s most loved and best used community sporting venues based on the newly adopted Leichhardt Oval Masterplan. 

The approved Masterplan is modular, with several kinds of funding options, designed to simply lift the facilities and amenities at Leichhardt Oval up to standard for the myriad of sporting and community organisations who utilise the ground.

The Masterplan makes clear that a modest investment from the State and Federal Governments will make a massive difference to the multitude of senior and junior, men’s and women’s rugby league, soccer and rugby union teams and spectators who regularly use Leichhardt Oval.

Inner West Mayor, Darcy Byrne said, “Leichhardt Oval is Sydney’s most iconic and well-loved suburban sports ground. Yet it remains the only suburban ground in Sydney that has not received any State Government funding in the past 15 years. That’s why we have submitted the Leichhardt Oval Masterplan to state and federal governments seeking a funding partnership.”

“The previous Liberal / National Party Government had a very deliberate and overtly partisan policy of refusing to contribute to any funding to the upgrade Leichhardt Oval.

“Despite being starved of funds available to other councils, we have continued to invest in Leichhardt Oval, providing over $5 million in improvements to the ground in recent years. This funding has improved basic amenities and maintained the playing surface in excellent condition. As a result, ‘The Eighth wonder of the World’ has attracted more sporting content than ever before.

“We are not seeking to build another major stadium, but rather to keep Leichhardt Oval, the most used suburban sporting facility in Sydney, safe and open for community use.

“We proposed to the State Government that with a fraction of the $300 Million that has been allocated to Penrith Stadium, fans and athletes could enjoy decent seating, toilets, catering facilities and upgraded, female-friendly change rooms.

“It is high time this unjust and unfair situation was ended and that this iconic community asset was allocated the modest funding required to secure the ground’s future.

“The closure of Leichhardt Oval would be a dark day for sport in NSW.”

In the past year there have been 83 sporting events at Leichhardt Oval, involving 64 teams, with the ground increasingly becoming a hub for women’s sport. This includes:

  • 3 Wests Tigers NRL games
  • Sydney Roosters and Brisbane Broncos NRLW games
  • Sydney FC Women’s A-League
  • Sydney FC and Western United Men’s A-League teams
  • 23 Lower Grade NRL teams
  • 9 Lower Grade and Country NRLW teams
  • 5 Shute Shield Rugby teams
  • 2 schoolboy Rugby teams
  • 18 Junior Rugby League teams

The ground has also hosted more than 20 training sessions for professional and international teams, involving the Socceroos, 8 FIFA Women’s World Cup teams (including the Spanish team before the World Cup Final) and the Brisbane Broncos in the week before the NRL Grand Final.

This extraordinary array of uses of use makes Leichhardt Oval not only one of the most loved sporting grounds in Australia but also one of the most utilised.

For media enquiries please contact Jonny Browne,

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Page last updated: 11 Dec 2023