Barilaro takes another swipe at Ballina over WSL event
Deputy Premier John Barilaro has again hit out at Ballina Shire Council over its decision to reject plans for a World Surf League event at Lennox Head.
It came as the WSL yesterday confirmed plans to ditch Bells Beach in Victoria and Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast in favour of events North Narrabeen in Sydney and Newcastle.
Speaking in parliament, Mr Barilaro said the announcement was part of the government's push to drive investment in NSW and its regions.
He took the opportunity to have another dig at Ballina Shire Council, which controversially rejected the WSL's plans to hold one of those rounds at Lennox Head over Easter.
"I was at Lennox Head only a few weeks ago," Mr Barilaro said.
"We were going to announce one of the WSL championship tours up at Lennox Head, but that community decided it did not want to support such an event.
"That is a missed opportunity.
"I also make this point: We are always accused and I am accused of pork‑barrelling in our electorates when the electorate of Ballina had an opportunity for a significant investment and turned it back.
"Enough with the accusations.
"The opportunity that came out of the rejection from Lennox Head was that we were able to steal two events.
"Attracting the best surfers in the world to New South Wales supports our locals and sports stars of the future. That is a fact.
"Santa Cruz and Hawaii were shut down. Bells Beach and Snapper Rocks are, of course, no longer happening.
"If it were not for New South Wales, the WSL Championship Tour would not be happening globally."