Design & Development

Tasmania details terms of AFL deal following stadium backlash

Featured image credit: Jeremy Rockliff

The Tasmanian Government has released details of its licence agreement with the Australian Football League (AFL) following backlash to plans to build a stadium that will house the new team.

The Government has released the agreement to the public to be “open and transparent” through the stadium delivery process, and reiterated that the contract stipulates that an AFL licence is conditional on building a new stadium.

On May 3, Tasmania ended a long-running effort to secure an AFL franchise with confirmation that it had been awarded the licence for a club that will play at a new stadium in Hobart.

Tasmania Premier Jeremy Rockliff later stated that he remained committed to delivering the A$715m (£382m/€440m/$475m) stadium, despite protests against the project. The AFL signed binding commitments with the Tasmanian Government to deliver on the conditions behind the franchise award, including partnering with the Federal Government for the construction of a 23,000-seat roofed stadium at Macquarie Point.

Australia’s Federal Government pledged to provide A$240m towards the project, with the Tasmanian Government pledging A$375m and the AFL itself set to contribute A$15m. MPs John Tucker and Lara Alexander quit Tasmania’s Liberal Party to sit as independents over a perceived lack of transparency on the state Government’s funding plans for the stadium, while an estimated 6,000 locals attended a protest march against the project.

In a statement released yesterday (Sunday), the Tasmanian Government said that it fully understands the “strong community interest” in the issue.

The agreement released to the public confirms that the Tasmanian Government’s funding commitment totals A$460m, which includes the A$375m stadium commitment and a further A$85m to be procured through borrowings against land sale or lease for commercial uses.

The document also confirms the state Government’s commitment of A$60m to assist in the establishment of the team’s operations and to construct a high-performance centre for use by the team; and operational funding of A$12m a year for 12 years from the team’s entry into the AFL and AFL Women’s competitions.

As well as the A$15m it will contribute towards the stadium, the AFL will invest A$10m into the club’s training ground and administration, A$90m in game development, A$33m into development of young talent, and A$210m in distributions to the new club over the first 10 years.

The 134-page deal also includes a penalty of A$4.5m if the stadium is not halfway completed by October 27, and a further A$4.5m fine if it is not ready by 2028.

Design-specific stadium elements are also included in the deal, such as a fixed translucent roof, uninterrupted views of the pitch, and the ability for the venue to host other sports and concerts.

Rockliff said: “We committed to releasing the agreement with as much detail as possible, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. The agreement confirms our targeted investment that will not only deliver us our own AFL and AFLW sides, but will create over 4,000 jobs and deliver massive returns to our economy – allowing us to reinvest the dividends into the areas that matter to Tasmanians.”

Nic Street, Tasmania’s Minister for Sport and Recreation, added: “Our Government is delivering for Tasmanians and this agreement finally gives us our own licence, along with jobs, economic growth, and significant investment into grassroots footy here in Tasmania.”