Media release – AFL, 19 September 2022

AFL Statement on a Tasmanian license

There is a collective view that if a 19th license is to be awarded to Tasmania it must be done in a way that gives the club the best chance to be successful.

Statement from AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan:

The Commission met today and had a really positive discussion on the business case for Tasmania.

This was followed by a wide-ranging discussion – a productive discussion – with the 18 club presidents and CEOs afterwards.

There is a collective view that if a 19th license is to be awarded to Tasmania it must be done in a way that gives the club the best chance to be successful and a significant contributor to the competition and Tasmania more broadly.

The Commission was not asked to make a decision today and will not until the clubs have had an opportunity to go through the detail and come back with their views.

The Commission was supportive of the direction of the work we have undertaken and we wouldn’t be here if the Commission didn’t endorse the position we have.

We also know that football fans overwhelmingly support a team for Tasmania. It’s also acknowledged the broader benefits for the state of Tasmania.

We have committed to providing the boards of our 18 clubs with the opportunity to discuss the business case.

We believe that we have resolved and finalised 10 of the 11 workstreams and the final piece is resolving the stadium.

While those discussions are ongoing with the Tasmanian Government we are confident that we can continue to resolve that issue to the satisfaction of all parties.

We and the Tasmanian Government agree that a new stadium is important to the success of a new club and the Tasmanian economy – and we agree that we will solve that together at the right time.

The Federal Government has made no commitment at this stage, and we haven’t asked them to make a commitment.

We have briefed the Federal Government on the process and where we are at in looking at the business case for a 19th team, but we have made no approach to them for funding and will not seek any support until we work through all the ongoing requirements around the stadium design and feasibility.

When we are at the point where there is more clarity around the stadium, we will have those conversations with the Federal Government but – as I said earlier – we have agreed to work together with the Tasmanian Government and together we will solve the stadium issue.

Our job is to work with the Tasmanian Government to put a case to the Federal Government of the merits of this project when we have worked through all the detail.

As far as this process goes, there will be ongoing dialogue between the clubs, the AFL and the Tasmanian Government and we hope to reach a final decision once those discussions are had.

While there is an extensive business case, the key message to the presidents today is that after working through the 11 mainstreams over the past year, we believe there is considerable financial, economic and emotional support for a Tasmanian team.

There is still work to be done and feedback from the clubs is important.

But as the Tasmanian Premier said in his letter to presidents late last week, the State has committed considerable funding to both a roofed stadium solution and also to ensuring a 19th licence would be strong and sustainable.

One of the points we made to the presidents was that over the years we have succeeded as a code because we were prepared to take bold but calculated decisions – generational decisions – to build our code.

We also welcome the discussions with the Tasmanian Government over support for a roofed stadium as part of their transformation of Macquarie Point into a sports and entertainment precinct that will change the city – and the State – and allow them to not only have AFL games but major sporting events and major music and entertainment events.

As the Premier said yesterday, a stadium that allows for events throughout the year and supports more than 4000 jobs in the construction and almost 1000 jobs every year.

As I say, we will gather the views of the clubs once they have had the chance to talk to their boards but we think – directionally – that this is a positive step for Tasmania and for football.

Cassy O’Connor MP, Greens Leader, 18 September 2022

Stadium Plan Insulting to Tasmanians in Need

The Rockliff Government has its priorities all wrong.

The secretly decided mega-million dollar stadium plan for Macquarie Point is an insult to every Tasmanian who can’t afford their rent or is living in a tent.

It’s an insult to people languishing on the elective surgery waiting list, and those who fear an ambulance won’t arrive in time if they need emergency help.

And it’s completely disingenuous of the Premier to say the $400 million or so the State expects to chip in to the stadium ‘won’t be diverted’ from essential services funding.

If the State can afford a stadium, it can afford to build the homes Tasmanians need and invest in more healthcare workers.

It seems the Premier has been railroaded by the AFL in to building a flash new stadium the State can’t afford, and doesn’t need.

Bellerive and York Park are fantastic facilities that have successfully hosted AFL matches for many years.

They would do the job of hosting Tasmanian AFL and AFLW games just fine, without breaking the State’s bank.

The Greens fully support a Tasmanian AFL and AFLW team. For too long, we’ve been sending our best and brightest players to the mainland, while paying for rich Melbourne teams to play here.

Our support for the State’s AFL bid, however, did not include backing in a new stadium – and it won’t.

Tasmania has comfortably cleared every hurdle the AFL has thrown up, from overcoming the north south divide to developing a strong business case.

Just as we’re about to cross the finish line Gil McLachlan has come up with a totally unreasonable demand for a $750 million stadium.

The AFL are forcing Tasmania to choose between an AFL team on one hand, and on the other, decent health and housing systems.

Jeremy Rockliff and the Liberals have fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

Media release – Cricket Tasmania, 18 September 2022

Cricket Tasmania statement

Cricket Tasmania is supportive of the State Government’s announcement that a state-of-the-art, city-based stadium will be a reality for Hobart. It is an exciting opportunity for not only the Tasmanian cricket community, but Tasmanian sport as a whole.

Advancements in technology and stadium design mean that our players, members, fans and corporate partners will have access to the best facilities and a fan-first experience without having to go elsewhere.

A new stadium is also a great opportunity for the state to secure regular, high-quality international cricket content.

There is still a lot of detail to work through – including functionality, design, commercial rights and access arrangements – and we look forward to being a key stakeholder in the process that sees the stadium become a reality.

We also know a new stadium will have implications for Blundstone Arena. We are already working through that process with the State Government in an open and considered way, and by later this year we expect to have a clear position on our long-term requirements for training and playing, and what that means for our people and our organisation.

The future is bright for cricket in Tasmania.

Rebecca White MP, Labor Leader, 17 September 2022

Liberals prioritise stadium over housing

The Government needs to come clean on whether it is currently in negotiations with the developer of the Escarpment to pay them to not build houses in the middle of a housing crisis.

Premier Jeremy Rockliff has admitted that, after pouring nearly $130 million into Macquarie Point over the past decade, the government is now looking to build a new Hobart stadium at the site.

This would leave yet another Macquarie Point masterplan in tatters and will prevent the $100 million dollar housing development proposed at the Escarpment from going ahead.

While the Liberals obsess about a new stadium, nearly 4,500 families are waiting for social housing, and the average wait time since they came to government has more than quadrupled from 21 weeks to a staggering 90 weeks – or nearly two years.

The Liberals have failed to get the basics right on housing for nearly a decade.

It now appears the government is actively choosing to build a stadium over housing in the middle of a housing crisis.

Anita Dow MP, Shadow Minister for Health, 20 September 2022

Premier prioritises stadium over healthcare

Premier and part-time Health Minister Jeremy Rockliff has prioritised a $750 million stadium in Hobart over than the much-needed upgrades at the Launceston General Hospital.

The LGH has the worst bed-block in the country and wait times to see a specialist are at completely unacceptable levels.

Urgent cardiology and neurology patients—people with urgent heart and brain conditions—are waiting nearly a year to see a specialist. People classified as semi-urgent are waiting nearly three years.

And just one day after the Premier announced the new stadium in Hobart, paramedics at the LGH took strike action over the impossible working conditions they face.

Whether people need an ambulance, specialist appointment or admission to hospital, the Liberal Government is failing to get the basics right for them at the LGH.

The fact the Premier is focused on a $750 million stadium in Hobart while the $580 million he promised to upgrade the LGH is nowhere to be seen shows yet again how wrong his priorities are.