Major strides on Tasmania AFL team plans


Tasmania new AFL stadium update Image: Philip Lighton Architects

The Tasmania Government (Australia) and the Australian Football League (AFL) have reached an in-principle agreement on commercial terms of the State’s bid for a 19th license, but the timeline around a final decision remains unclear.

‘AFL’ stated that the AFL boss Gillon McLachlan and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff announced the agreement recently in Hobart (Australia), describing it as a “great step forward”.

Melbourne (Australia)-based the Australian Football League (AFL) is the only fully professional competition of Australian Rules football. Through the AFL Commission, the AFL also serves as the sport’s governing body and is responsible for controlling the laws of the game.

‘AFL’ further stated that the Tasmanian Government’s funding commitment includes $12 million per year over 12 years, plus $60 million towards a high-performance and administration complex.

McLachlan indicated an announcement on Tasmania’s bid was “close” but wouldn’t specify a timeframe or commit to sealing the deal before his tenure as the Chief Executive finishes at the end of the year – “The decision requires the support of our AFL clubs and we are having productive discussions there. In recent days, we’ve come a long way with our clubs. They’ve had detailed information around every aspect of the bid. We’ve got generally very positive feedback.”

It appears the final piece of the puzzle is locking in funding for the construction of a new stadium on Hobart’s waterfront, which could carry a price tag of $750 million.

The State Liberal Government has promised to fund half of the stadium, with the remainder of the cash to be sought from the Federal Government, private sector involvement and equity raising.

Rockliff said the State Government had finalized a stadium business case and would soon take it to the Federal Government.

The Prime Minister of Australia, Anthony Albanese, has previously backed Tasmania’s bid for inclusion in the AFL.

The Federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, Carol Brown, told newsmen that the Government would assess any business case on its merits, as per the due process.

The stadium proposal does not have universal backing in Tasmania, with the State Labor Opposition and the Greens among those opposed.

Argued McLachlan, “Every change that we make in the AFL has people who have different views and I would ask them to look at the bigger picture. It’s our obligation to lead.”

The State Government claims the stadium will per year deliver 950 fulltime-equivalent jobs and $85 million into Tasmania’s economy.

It says an AFL and Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) team will inject $120 million per year into the State’s economy.

Meanwhile, the Hawthorn Football Club has inked a new one-year deal to play home games in Tasmania.

The ‘Hawks’ will host four matches in Launceston (City in Tasmania) next season, having first played games in the Apple Isle (Tasmania) in 2001.

Remarked Justin Reeves, Hawthorn head honcho, “We are delighted to be extending our time in Tasmania, while at the same time also continuing our support for their pursuit of their own AFL team. Having first played in Tasmania in 2001, this is a tremendous outcome for our passionate Tasmanian members. The relationship Hawthorn has with the Tasmanian Government is incredibly strong, and to extend our partnership for another season is a testament to those ties.”

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