Premier Anthony Albanese has thrown his support behind Tasmania’s AFL license but the construction of a new stadium remains controversial a week after a key meeting.
The AFL will meet club presidents on September 6 to seek approval from the league, but chief executive Gillon McLachlan has not confirmed a vote to approve Tasmania will take place at that meeting.
A final decision is yet to be made to the presidents in ongoing discussions over whether to build a new stadium in Hobart and who will pay for it.
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Speaking at the National Press Club, the Prime Minister was asked about Tasmania’s prospects.
“I hope Tassie gets an AFL team. “Tasmania has produced some of the greatest champions in the AFL for a long time,” he said.
“Obviously the team I support had Hawthorn, I’m not sure what it’s called these days, it was Aurora Stadium on one stage, in Loney (Launceston). And of course the North who play in Hobart.
But that is for the AFL to decide.
McLachlan said a new stadium would need to be built for Tasmania’s bid to be successful and on Monday said “nothing has changed” on that score.
“Whatever form it takes, whether it’s a situational issue or something more specific, we’ll work on that,” he said.
“This is our national game with amazing facilities and I know the Tasmanian government and Tasmanians expect to have a center of pride, Adelaide Oval is in South Australia, Optus (Stadium) in Perth, Road. MCG and Marvel (Stadium) are for Melburnians.
“I don’t think Tasmanians want a team without a new stadium. That’s the deal and nothing has changed.
Funding and cost of the stadium remains a key point of contention. To date, Tasmania has provided $150 million in funding, including $10 million annually over 10 years.
Premier Jeremy Rockliff’s government is preparing a $1.25 million feasibility study, which has put the cost of the stadium up to $750 million.
“We made a very strong bid and the AFL said it was a strong bid,” Rockliff said.
“We believe the bid could support the AFL license for Tasmania. We are still in discussions and have a lot to do.
“This is a significant government and taxpayer investment and we want to do our due diligence to get it right.”