Premier grilled on stadium

June 6, 2023 6:10 pm in by

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The AFL has the right to terminate Tasmania’s licence for a team if a controversial stadium doesn’t meet its construction deadline.

Premier Jeremy Rockliff was grilled about aspects of the state’s deal with the AFL and plans for the $715 million Hobart waterfront stadium during budget estimates hearings on Monday.

The AFL granted Tasmania the league’s 19th licence in May, with a slated 2028 start date for the team.

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The league says a team is contingent on the stadium, which is opposed by state Labor and the Greens as well as thousands who attended a protest last month.

Mr Rockliff said the stadium had a practical completion date of December 2028.

“The AFL has the right to terminate the AFL licence agreement, which results in a termination of the funding agreement, if the stadium does not achieve practical completion by that date,” he said.

He also said the government had agreed to build 60 per cent of the stadium by the end of October 2027.

Mr Rockliff said if by October 2025 the state believed it could not meet the 2027 deadline, it could ask the AFL for an extension of the licence conditions.

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“Any delay in the Hobart stadium reaching the 60 per cent competition threshold is likely to delay the club’s entry into the AFL competition, potentially,” he said.

Mr Rockliff said he was confident the timeline could be met and a draft plan for the Macquarie Point stadium site would be completed by October.

The government has pledged $375m for the stadium, while the federal government is chipping in $240m and the AFL $15m.

According to its deal with the AFL, the state government is solely responsible for stadium cost overruns.

The state Liberal government was plunged into minority last month when two MPs quit the party citing concerns about transparency surrounding the AFL deal.

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Mr Rockliff has committed to legislative change to ensure the project is voted on for a second time in parliament as part of the planning process.

He said the amendment could be tabled in parliament as early as this month.

The state government will contribute $12 million per year over 12 years towards a team, plus $60 million for a high-performance centre.

The AFL will invest about $360 million over a decade into the club.