A golf course in central Sydney will be split in half with much of the land transformed into a public park after a years-long battle over its future.
The New South Wales premier, Chris Minns, announced on Sunday that the state government would repurpose part of the 45-hectare Moore Park golf course from 2026 to create more green space, including for “grassroots sport and recreation”.
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As much as 20 hectares will be carved off from the course and made into parkland. The golf course is on public land but has been operated privately under successive service agreements with the NSW government. The current agreement expires in mid-2026.
A map of the planned park. Illustration: NSW premier’s office
The course has long been in the crosshairs of the Sydney lord mayor, Clover Moore, and also the former NSW premier Bob Carr, who argued it occupied prime land in the city centre that could be used by a wider range of people.
A discussion paper will be released year early next as part of a consultation process about the future of the course, but the government’s preferred option is for the new park to be established on the western boundary and part of the section north of Dacey Avenue, which it says will maximise access for residents of Green Square, Zetland and Waterloo.
The government said the Green Square urban renewal area had 33,000 residents and was expected to become one of the most densely populated areas in Australia, with 80,000 people living within 2km of Moore Park by 2040.
“Over the past century, Sydney has changed significantly,” Minns said. “When the golf course was first established, the surrounding areas were largely industrial lands.
“As we work to tackle the housing crisis facing NSW by building up, we know that delivering public infrastructure including parks is more important than ever before. There is huge demand from residents in the city for a variety of community sporting facilities in the city’s inner south, and with further density planned this will only grow.”
Paul Scully, the minister for planning and public spaces, said increased housing density needed to be supported with more parkland.
A golfer at Moore Park. Photograph: Matt King/Getty Images
“This land is part of Sydney’s backyard,” he said. “We can repurpose this area as public open space while retaining a golf course and driving range.”
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“We know that getting more people into homes closer to the city through increased density needs to be supported with more open space.
“The communities of Redfern, Waterloo, Green Square and Zetland are crying out for more green space and this change will go a long way to satisfying their needs.”
Comment was being sought from Moore Park golf club.
Its president, John Janik, told the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday: “This course was built for the working class. All the other golf courses in this area charge $3,000 per year. We only charge a few hundred dollars a year. I actually thought Labor represented the working class.”
According to the club’s website “memberships are currently closed but applications are being waitlisted”. A round of 18 holes at the course costs from $45 to $65.