The NSW government has defended its decision to scrap the redevelopment of Sydney's ANZ Stadium, saying the money needs to be spent more widely across the state in the wake of COVID-19.
But the Western Sydney Business Chamber says the Olympic Park stadium revamp would have created a lot of jobs very quickly.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday announced the shelving of the controversial $810 million refurbishment she took to the election.
Instead its funding would be redirected towards a $3 billion acceleration fund for smaller, shovel-ready projects across NSW.
"Yes, the ANZ Stadium was a priority for us, but since the pandemic the priorities have changed," Ms Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.
"We want to make sure we put every dollar we have into job creation and job keeping."
Ms Berejiklian said it was"devastating" to lose more than 220,000 jobs in a month - not counting people on JobKeeper - because of the lockdowns enforced to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said it was in NSW's best interests to redirect the stadium money into projects across the state - "in the regions, in our smaller communities, but also in our larger cities".
The premier didn't say what shovel-ready projects the acceleration fund would support.
She foreshadowed asset recycling and said the state would be "borrowing for the first time in a long time, at a scale we've not before".
The state government estimates the fund will create up to 20,000 jobs across the state.
But the Western Sydney Business Chamber's executive director, David Borger, was disappointed the stadium project had been abandoned.
He said it would have had an "ongoing tourism multiplier effect" which was "frankly more significant than smaller projects".
"The reason we're doing this is to make sure we have the best possible experience for people attending, that we can keep attracting great content, that Sydney can continue to compete in a tourism sense," Mr Borger told AAP.
"It was one of the few projects that's absolutely ready for a shovel in the ground. It would have created lots of jobs very quickly."
However, he welcomed the government's commitment to relocating the Powerhouse Museum from the fringe of the CBD to Parramatta.
"This is an opportunity to give that collection a brand-new audience in western Sydney, and for western Sydney for the first time to have its very own major museum," Mr Borger said.
State shadow treasurer Walt Secord welcomed the decision not to go ahead with the upgrade of the stadium, but says the government should go further and scrap plans to move the museum.
"The ANZ decision is the first step and the second step should be the Powerhouse Museum," he told ABC Radio Sydney on Sunday.
"We want to see that redirected to fast-track upgrades to schools and hospitals. We want to create jobs, jobs, jobs."
The controversial Powerhouse Museum relocation would create 1100 direct jobs and 2400 indirect jobs, Ms Berejiklian said.
Mr Secord called the Powerhouse Museum project "a six-year farce" on 2SM Radio, stating it has not created a single job.
"We support jobs, but the premier has missed the golden opportunity," he said on Sunday.
Australian Associated Press