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Hobart stadium plan receives boost with Labor backing

Featured image credit: Jeremy Rockliff

The Tasmanian Labor party has announced that it will support a proposed AFL stadium at the Macquarie Point site in Hobart.

The party has previously been against the project, which has been backed by Tasmania’s Liberal Government.

Tasmanian Labor said that a new stadium will provide thousands of construction jobs, including hundreds of apprenticeships.

There are currently two proposals on the table for a new stadium in Hobart. Plans to obtain an AFL franchise through a stadium complex at Macquarie Point were unveiled back in 2019. However, the Tasmanian authorities then switched focus to a site at Regatta Point before eventually reverting back to the nine-hectare Macquarie Point site, which was reported to be the AFL’s preferred site.

Construction of the A$715m (£377m/€439m/$473m) waterfront stadium was a condition of the AFL granting a licence to Tasmania in May 2023 for a team that is lined up to enter the competition in 2028. However, the 23,000-seat roofed stadium deal has attracted vociferous opposition from locals.

In October, a rival project emerged to the Government-backed venture. The project, under the name Stadia Precinct Consortia, has been drawn up by Paul Lennon, who was Tasmania’s Labor Premier between March 2004 and May 2008, and Tasmanian engineer Dean Coleman.

A new multi-purpose stadium with a retractable roof is at the heart of this rival proposal, which gained the backing of Hobart City Council in January.

Tasmanian Labor leader Dean Winter yesterday (Monday) issued a statement expressing his support for a new stadium, and said that both proposals should be considered by the Government.

“While we will not be standing in the way of the current Macquarie Point stadium proposal, we still hold concerns around the deliverability of the project,” Winter said. “The Premier (Jeremy Rockliff) should not rule out the Stadium 2.0 project.

“Labor has changed. Under my leadership, the Labor Party stands for safe, secure, well-paid jobs. That means we will support projects with the potential to create thousands of new jobs – including a new stadium.”

Winter said that Rockliff “needs to deliver” on his capped spend of A$375m, with private investors to cover any shortfall.

Rockliff has welcomed Labor’s decision, stating that he is “looking forward to working together” on the project.