Govt stick to guns on Tasmania venue site


Second AFL stadium for Tasmania revealed Image: Stadia Precinct

The Tasmanian Government has sunk an alternative proposal for a stadium on Hobart’s waterfront (Australia), claiming it would not meet its contractual requirements with the Australian Football League (AFL).

‘’ stated that Paul Lennon, who was Labor Premier between March 2004 and May 2008, has released alternative plans that would see a stadium built on further reclaimed land in the River Derwent in Australia, using private sector financing.

Melbourne (Australia)-based the Australian Football League (AFL) is the pre-eminent and only fully professional competition of Australian Rules football. It was originally named the Victorian Football League and was founded in 1896 as a breakaway competition from the Victorian Football Association, with its inaugural season in 1897.

‘’ further stated that it comes on the heels of the Government planning to bring on a vote in Parliament to have its preferred location 200 meters away at Macquarie Point assessed by the State’s Planning Commission.

The Macquarie Point Stadium is a proposed multipurpose stadium in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, scheduled to begin construction in 2025 and open in 2029 as the home ground of a Tasmanian AFL team.

The plans from Lennon and Tasmanian engineer Dean Coleman – under the name Stadia Precinct Consortia – show the facility would extend 250 meters into the Derwent, built on an additional 800,000 cubic meters of reclaimed land.

It would sit alongside the regatta grounds – a similar location to the initial proposal from the former Premier of Tasmania Peter Gutwein. This was changed to Macquarie Point following a visit to Hobart (City in Australia) by the AFL executives.

Lennon and Coleman’s plans include 450 apartments attached to the stadium, 5,000 underground parking spaces, a private hospital, hotel, and convention center.

Coleman estimated the stadium would cost $750 million, with the total development to cost $2.3 billion.

He said a public-private partnership model would be used.

Said Coleman, “Those commercial developments actually inject the funds to pay for the peripherals of the stadium. That’s why our stadium is a $750 million project. The 2.3 (billion dollars) is all the other commercial development around the precinct, but all of those commercial developments actually inject funds into the project.”

Coleman said they were seeking international finance for the project – “The stadium itself will be a public-private partnership. The Tasmanian people will own the stadium from Day One, and the rest of the development is just traditional investors investing in accommodation, commercial, hospitals, and the like.”

The AFL team Adelaide Crows former Chairman Rob Chapman is the project’s Financial Advisor.

Some Applaud Alternative Idea as Good Use of Space

The Commonwealth has promised $240 million for the State Government’s proposal, contingent on it including housing for the frontline health workers and veterans, along with social housing, wharf upgrades and consultation with the aboriginal community.

The Aboriginal Heritage Council has already voiced its disapproval over the removal of an Aboriginal cultural center from the plans, despite the inclusion of a “culturally informed” park.

The Hobart City Council has also been critical of the Government’s plan, believing it is an unsuitable and rushed use of available public land.

The Council has been briefed by Coleman and Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the alternative design appeared to be more appropriate.

She stated, “It is a very serious proposal, it’s a serious consortium. I think it’s really good to have more than just the Macquarie Point proposal on the table. They’ve also really thought about some of the problems with building a stadium in that fairly limited space at Macquarie Point. My understanding is it leaves Macquarie Point with a bit more room to move to do the housing, or the Antarctic and Science precinct, or back to the reconciliation art park.”

The Independent MP Lara Alexander – who quit the Liberals in May over concerns about the stadium proposal – said she preferred the alternative idea – “It is very good to see the business sector coming together and actually offering a solution to the Government. The fear has been all along that this is a huge project with the risk that was basically carried fully and completely by the State Government.”

The Government requires her vote in the Lower House to pass legislation.

RSL Tasmania (the premier ex-service organization provides assistance to veterans) has also thrown its support behind the proposal, saying it won’t have the same detrimental impacts on the Hobart Cenotaph as the Government’s current plan for Macquarie Point.

Said John Hardy, RSL Tasmania Chief Executive, “We believe this solution is workable, we believe it enhances the Cenotaph, we believe that it gives grace to the Cenotaph. We’ve been consulted from the start, and we believe this is a way forward.”

The Hobart Cenotaph is the main commemorative military monument for the Australian State of Tasmania. It is located in the capital Hobart in a prominent position on the Queens Domain, on a small rise overlooking the City and River Derwent. The Cenotaph sits directly above what was once the location of the Queens Battery.

Government Committed to Macquarie Point

The Stadia and Events Minister Nic Street said the contract for a Tasmanian AFL team required a stadium at the Macquarie Point -“While we have been provided information on an alternative concept at the Regatta Point that includes a stadium, there is no detailed business case or funding secured for what is an incredibly ambitious project. The alternative site proposed is owned by the Hobart City Council, not the Tasmanian Government, and the scale of the proposal means it is far more complex and with that comes a higher level of risk. While we have always indicated we are open to private investor interest in a stadium, it is important that we are able to deliver on what has been committed to and by 2028.”

The Government released a draft precinct plan recently for Macquarie Point showing the stadium would be the first stage, followed by housing and an Aboriginal cultural park and commercial development.

A final plan would be provided to the Commonwealth – along with wharf upgrade plans – to receive $240 million in funding.

The Labor Opposition supports a new AFL team but does not believe the State should have to pay for the stadium.

Lennon has urged the party to back his consortium’s alternative proposal at the Regatta Point – “We’ve presented it to the Labor Party, they’re considering it, as I would expect them to. But at the end of the day, I think the Labor Party wants what most Tasmanians want. That is an urban renewal project around this site that includes the stadium, but also makes sure that the cost to the taxpayers isn’t such that the additional affordable housing and social housing and health assets that are needed don’t have to give way to the stadium. The only way to do that is to have a significant private sector involvement.”

In a statement, an AFL spokesperson said it was a “clear requirement of the 19th licence that the team is conditional on a new 23,000-seat roofed stadium at the Macquarie Point. That position was clearly reiterated by the current AFL head honcho Andrew Dillon when he appeared before the Tasmanian Parliamentary Committee in June.”

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