Funding foul hurts Blacktown Council

BLACKTOWN mayor Len Robinson has taken a swing at his own party after the state government axed $736,000 funding for Sydney's home of baseball at Rooty Hill.

The council has been left with a $1.6 million annual bill to maintain Blacktown International Sportspark's baseball facility until a contractual agreement runs out in 2018.

The mayor's frustration grew on Friday after Blacktown was left out of government office moves to western Sydney.

"It's disgraceful," Cr Robinson told the Star.

"We've known for a few months and were lodging submissions to get some of it back.

"But I became enraged with the millions the government spent on getting Major League baseball to the SCG while cutting my throat."

The venue was built for the 2000 Olympics.

"We have to maintain this facility to an international standard and our ratepayers can't use it," Cr Robinson said.

Premier Barry O'Farrell's office referred the Star's query to Sports and Recreation Minister Gabrielle Upton.

The council was advised future requests for funding would need to be supported by a comprehensive business case.

"The council submitted a case to Sport and Recreation, but it lacked the details needed to assess the case for government investment," Ms Upton said.

"As the community rightly expects, the investment of government funding for sporting facilities needs a sound business case.

"Sport and Recreation has provided the council with options for seeking government funding and will provide advice and support as needed."

It's not known yet what sacrifices the council will have to make.

"We now have to find the money to maintain the facility, on top of the $60 million shortfall the Labor-run administration left us with," Cr Robinson said.

"I will continuing to lobby every politician and urge Baseball NSW chief executive Tim Harradine to lobby on our behalf."

Mr Harradine has vowed to do his bit.

"We feel from a baseball perspective to be well supported by the state government," he said.

"But we are appreciative of our relationship with Blacktown Council. We look forward to finding a solution and will continue to offer lobbying assistance to the council."

Funding cuts won't affect Australian Baseball League club Sydney Blue Sox's future at its home ground.

"We look forward to the Blue Sox to continue to play out of Blacktown," Mr Harradine said.

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