‘Golden opportunity’: Billion-dollar backer confirms tilt to fund proposed Macquarie Point stadium

Billion-dollar investment and private capital firms will bid for the right to partner with the Tasmanian government and deliver the Macquarie Point precinct development — including a 23,000 seat roofed stadium — as part of a blockbuster public-private partnership agreement.

The government, in need of private capital to fund the precinct and stadium, will select a private partner as part of a competitive bid process — and one of the nation’s biggest private capital firms has confirmed to the ABC it will throw its hat in the ring.

The ABC can reveal Plenary Group, which was co-founded and chaired by Richmond football club president John O’Rourke, will bid for the right to deliver the broader Macquarie Point precinct, including the stadium.

Drone overview of the Macquarie Point site in Hobart, where the AFL wants the stadium built.(ABC News: Maren Preuss)

Managing director Damien Augustinus told the ABC that the Tasmanian government had a “golden opportunity” to partner with the private sector to deliver the project.

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The main venues of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games have changed. Here’s the new plan

A review of Brisbane’s 2032 Olympics and Paralympics venues has recommended ensuring the Games leave a legacy in the city.

Former Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk, who led the review, recommended a new stadium be built in inner-city Victoria Park and the Gabba Stadium redevelopment be scrapped.

The Queensland government agreed with “most of it” and accepted 27 of the 30 recommendations.

So, will Brisbane have a new stadium for the Olympic and Paralympic Games?

The government has “ruled out” the review’s recommendation to build a new stadium at Victoria Park in Brisbane.

Former Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk said the review had found the proposal at Victoria Park was the best option.(Supplied: Archipelago)

Mr Miles said it was rejected because it is a more expensive option.

“When Queenslanders are struggling with housing and other costs, I cannot justify to them spending $3.4 billion on a new stadium,” he said.

Brisbane architect Peter Edwards said he is “mystified about why that seems to be so politically fraught”.

“We have to have a low-cost Games in 2032, which is our once-ever moment to present ourselves on the global stage,” he said.

What will happen to Brisbane’s Gabba stadium?

The Gabba redevelopment north-eastern view ahead of the 2023 Brisbane Olympic Games, stadium in background fans in foreground

An artist’s impression of the now-abandoned plan to redevelop the Gabba stadium at Woolloongabba.(Supplied: Queensland government)

Mr Miles said the “iconic Gabba will always be a stadium”, but the rebuild will not proceed.

He said too much has been invested in building public transport around the stadium.

“I don’t see a scenario where a future government demolishes the Gabba,” Mr Miles said.

He said the stadium will undergo a “refurbishment” ahead of the Games, in consultation with stakeholders.

AFL and Cricket Australia will no longer be displaced from the Gabba, and East Brisbane State School will not need to vacate its current site by the end of 2025.

The stadium will also no longer host the opening and closing ceremonies.

What about Lang Park?

Brisbane’s Lang Park is already the “spirit of rugby league” and now will be the “Olympic stadium”.

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Mr Miles said the stadium will host the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2032 Games.

“I’m biased, but I’ve always thought it was the best rectangular field in the world,” he said.

Alan Graham, general manager of Suncorp Stadium, said the stadium was looking forward to participating in the “wonderful Games” by improving the technology, adding large LED screens, additional seating, and better access.

Where will the athletic events be held?

An image of the athletics running track at the Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre in Brisbane

Under the new plan, the athletics events will be held at QSAC (Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre) at Nathan in Mt Gravatt.(ABC News: Dean Caton)

Queensland Sport and Athletics Complex (QSAC) is set to be upgraded to hold athletic events, despite the review rejecting the option.

Mr Miles said it was ruled out by the review due to Olympic access costs, but the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has committed to him that it will “work to minimise those requirements”.

“QSAC is one of our most used venues, but we will turn it into the best athletics venue in Australia,” he said.

How much will it cost?

The government said the “new direction” for the Games ensures costs “remain within the agreed funding envelope of $7.1 billion, to be shared between the state and commonwealth governments”.

the gabba stadium

The Queensland and federal government had previously made a $7 billion funding agreement to redevelop the Gabba and build Brisbane Live Arena at Roma Street Station.(ABC News: Christopher Gillette)

The cost of upgrading QSAC, and how long it will take, is yet to be determined.

Mr Miles said that if the upgrades cost $1 billion, it would still leave “in the order of a billion dollars” to be splurged, “roughly half-half” between upgrading Lang Park and the Gabba.

What about the other Olympic venues?

Brisbane Live exterior daytime graphic with arena in the middle and fans walking nearby

The Brisbane Live Arena was originally meant to be built on top of Roma Street Station, and is now set to be built at Roma Street parklands nearby.(Supplied: Queensland government)

State Development Minister Grace Grace said the government supports the recommendation to build the Brisbane Arena in the new location at the upper end of Roma Street Parklands.

Moreton Bay Indoor Sport Centre will proceed, with the site’s expansion being investigated.

Toowoomba Sports Ground will not proceed, as recommended, but the government will explore opportunities to host other events in the region.

Albion’s Breakfast Creek Indoor Sports Precinct will also not proceed, with a centre in Zillmere or Boondall to be considered instead.

What about the athlete villages?

The locations of the athlete villages were not part of the review.

Mr Miles said villages will remain at Hamilton in Brisbane, on the Gold Coast, and on the Sunshine Coast.

Now the review is done, what’s next?

Ms Grace said the government will now “move quickly”.

“We’ve got a path forward,” she said.

An independent delivery authority will oversee the sports venue program, which is set to be established by mid-2024.

Queensland Development Minister Grace Grace wears a dark blazer.

Grace Grace said the government will move quickly to deliver the infrastructure needed for the 2032 Games.(ABC News)

Will Brisbane be ready in time for the 2032 Olympic Games?

Griffith University Cities Research Institute director Professor Paul Burton said the longer debates and discussions continue, the probability of projects being rushed, unfinished, and expensive increases.

 “Delays often come during the development phase, not the construction phase,” he said.

“The sooner you can start construction, the better.”

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As Victoria’s second-biggest city has reversed its fortunes, this historical stadium has been given new life

In the 70s and 80s, Geelong kids would gather empty beer cans from the feet of adults at Kardinia Park.

Back then, the cans were strong and could hold a young child’s weight if they were stacked just right.

Standing on top, a young footy fan could get a clear view of the field, where their heroes donned the blue and white hoops of one of the oldest football teams in the world.

A boy from nearby Winchelsea named Denis Napthine was one of those beer-can architects.

“I barracked for the Cats from day dot,” Dr Napthine says.

Former Victorian premier Denis Napthine watched his beloved Geelong Cats at Kardinia Park from a young age.(ABC News: Harrison Tippet)

“[Some of my] earliest memories are the thrill of being able to come down to Kardinia Park and see my heroes play. And coming down with dad and the family and being in the outer.

“And you’re only a little fella at that stage, I was only 11 and 12, and by the time the game was on you barely could see, so what you had to do is collect a whole heap of beer cans.”

This was about 60 years ago, but he still reels off the names of young Denis’s favourite Cats.

“To see Polly Farmer play, to see Billy Goggins’s stab passes, and Doug Wade, and the tough fellas in the backline, John Devine and Geoff Rosenow. And the drop kicks of Paul Vinar, and the skills of John Sharrock,” he says, with youthful fervour.

Little did young Denis know, as he studied his heroes from atop his beer can watchtower, that he would later return to Kardinia Park as Victoria’s premier to pledge a $26 million portion of what would eventually be a $340 million, 20-year redevelopment of Geelong’s stadium precinct.

The exterior of a stadium at dusk, with the flood lights on and Geelong Cats branding on the side.

Kardinia Park has undergone a five-stage upgrade over 20 years.(ABC News: Cameron Best)

Aim to make Kardinia Park Australia’s best regional stadium

The state government and Kardinia Park Stadium Trust (KPST) will officially announce the completion of the new 14,000-seat Joel Selwood grandstand this week, just in time for the Cats to play in the centre of the new 40,000-capacity stadium on Saturday night.

The finishing touches are still being put on remainder of the $142-million stage of the redevelopment, including a new indoor cricket hub, sports museum and entry plaza, but this week effectively marks the blare of the final siren on the stadium’s upgrade.

A photo of a stand in construction

The new Joel Selwood stand in the late stages of construction.(Supplied: Kardinia Park Stadium Trust)

It comes almost three-and-a-half years after the state government announced it would fully fund the fifth stage of “the MCG of regional Australia”.

“With new and improved facilities and a bigger capacity, the stadium will continue to attract A-grade sport and entertainment to Geelong and ensure that the city’s name is known around the globe,” then-sports minister Martin Pakula said.

KPST, the body assigned to govern the state asset, will wait for this week’s official opening to make their own statements, but it’s almost certain they’ll point out that the stadium is far more than a footy oval.

It attracts top-flight cricket, soccer and rugby matches, numerous community sports and activities – and even one of the biggest rock bands in the world, the Foo Fighters.

A crowd of Geelong Cats fans in a stadium grandstand, wearing blue and white, holding banners and shaking oversized pom poms.

Kardinia Park is predominantly the Geelong Football Club’s home, but also hosts a range of sporting and entertainment events.(AAP: Julian Smith)

They’ll likely also note they have already won the title of Australia’s Best Regional Stadium in last year’s fan-voted AusStadiums awards.

“It’s a real feather in the cap of all the hard work of the people here to get this award, and it’s vindication of what we’re aiming to be, which is exactly that – Australia’s best regional stadium,” KPST CEO Gerard Griffen said at the time.

Five stages of funding over two decades

The overhaul of Geelong’s stadium began as an idea of the club’s leaders in the late 90s.

Over the next couple of decades, the club would continue to push all levels of government for funding pledges.

Politicians would steadily stream down the Princes Freeway to make their announcements at Kardinia Park.

There was $26 million for stage one, then $25 million for the next, and $48 million for the third stage.

The final two stages have been the big ones.

An aerial colour photo of a large sports stadium

Kardinia Park in 1990 before the redevelopment began.(Supplied: Geelong Advertiser, Bob Gartland Collection)

It cost $90 million to build the Brownlow Stand, new football department and stadium entry, opened in 2017.

And then the current $142-million final stage, with the state government picking up the entire tab.

While the federal government, local council, AFL and Cats themselves have all kicked in parts of the $340 million total overhaul of the stadium, the State is responsible for the majority of it — at about $260 million.

It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, with the completion of the final stage delayed almost a year by defects discovered in imported steel, and a 2010 miscalculation finding the stage three project $12 million short, prompting cutbacks to planned works.

Two men standing on a sports field while talking to one another

Former Geelong Football Club captain Joel Selwood with Kardinia Park Trust CEO Gerard Griffin after the stand was named in the footballer’s honour.(Supplied: Kardinia Park Stadium Trust)

The regular flow of taxpayer funds for the precinct has earned it the unofficial nickname “Pork Barrel Park” — a tag Dr Napthine disputes.

“I can very strongly say this investment in Kardinia Park, investment in the redevelopment of the ground, has been a really regional development investment that really has helped transform Geelong… investing in Kardinia Park, is an investment in the future of Geelong, and the future of Victoria as well,” he says.

Stadium precinct’s fortunes mirror those of Geelong

There’s a Geelong cliché that when the footy club is winning, the city is too.

The same could be said of Kardinia Park — the stadium’s complete overhaul is symbolic of both the Cats’ and the city’s reinvigoration.

By the end of the 90s the footy club was virtually on its knees – broke, $6 million in debt and having not won a premiership since 1963 while losing four grand finals between 1989 and 1995.

The city too, was doing it tough.

An aerial black and white photo of a large sports stadium

Kardinia Park in 1980.(Supplied: Geelong Advertiser, Bob Gartland Collection)

The 1990 collapse of “Geelong’s Bank” the Pyramid Building Society wiped out life savings for many in the region, as jobs also started to dry up in the manufacturing town, continuing well into the new century.

But alongside the redevelopment of Kardinia Park has been a revival of the city’s fortunes.

The Cats have the best win-loss record in the league since 2000 including four premierships, while the city itself is one of the fastest growing regional centres in Australia having established new employment opportunities.

Geelong historian and former Cats vice president Bob Gartland has the largest private collection of Cats artefacts in existence, and a thorough understanding of the club’s importance to his hometown.

A man smiling at the camera surrounded by dozens of Geelong cats jumpers on the walls

Geelong historian Bob Gartland says the expansion of Kardinia Park has reflected the growth of Geelong.(ABC News: Harrison Tippet)

“The development of the stadium sort of runs parallel with the development of the city, I think,” he says, flanked by game-worn jumpers of Cats legends.

“As Geelong grows the stadium has grown.”

“Those good fortunes and successes that [the Cats] had were mirrored in society, in the community, in business around Geelong. So, the football club in many ways has actually been central to the success of the region.

“I think the people are the heart of Geelong, buildings and the fabric of buildings are great, but it’s the people who represent for me anyway the heart of Geelong and the heart of the Geelong spirit.

“I think the stadium precinct is probably the glue that holds us all together.”

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Hobart’s stadium ‘has some problems’ as Tasmania’s AFL deal becomes a political football

Tasmania’s bid for its own AFL team has been intertwined with a stadium at Macquarie Point ever since Gil McLachlan turned up in Hobart in 2022 and pointed at the grey, mostly-vacant land.

The deal was then formalised in writing last year when the AFL stipulated if there was no stadium, there would be no team.

But now, it’s become a key sticking point on the first day of the state election campaign, as both the Liberals and Labor try to shape the narrative over the deal — and whether it can be changed.

The price tag is at the centre of the debate.

Jeremy Rockliff says the AFL deal doesn’t need to be renegotiated.(ABC News: Maren Preuss)

The Tasmanian government set the total cost at $715 million in 2022, with a state contribution of $375 million, and the rest to come from the federal government, borrowings, and the AFL.

Since then, various stadia projects in Australia have experienced major cost blowouts.

But Premier Jeremy Rockliff is sure of his figures.

And in an attempt to prove this, he announced on Thursday that the state’s contribution would be capped at $375 million, and “not one red cent more”.

“What this clearly says is that we’ve drawn a line in the sand,” Mr Rockliff said.

The original cost estimates included $85 million from “borrowings” through commercial leases.

Mr Rockliff said the stadium would continue to rely on private investment to become viable.

“We are now open to the private sector to come in and invest in the precinct,” he said.

“We always said that will need to be an equity injection through the private sector.”

Two men in suits stand on a football field

Jeremy Rockliff and former AFL boss Gil McLachlan at the announcement of the Tasmanian team deal.(ABC News: Luke Bowden)

The contract with the AFL states that the Tasmanian government is “solely responsible” for cost overruns.

The federal government has already capped its contribution.

But Mr Rockliff said his price cap did not breach this part of the AFL deal.

“There’s no need to renegotiate the arrangements,” he said.

Labor wants AFL back at the negotiating table

Labor, on the other hand, has promised to bring the AFL back to the negotiating table.

Another aspect of the AFL deal is that the stadium must be ready by the 2028 season, or the Tasmanian club will start facing financial penalties.

Labor leader Rebecca White said both the cost estimate for Macquarie Point, and the 2028 deadline, needed to be revisited.

Rebecca White flanked by two other women at a press conference, standing before a microphone.

Rebecca White has promised to bring the AFL back to the negotiating table if Labor wins the election.(ABC News: Ashleigh Barraclough)

“It’s evident to everybody that you can’t build a stadium at Macquarie Point for that price, and in the timeline that the premier has said he can,” Ms White said.

She argued the premier’s price cap policy was an admission that the stadium would not come in under budget – and she questioned whether private investors would be lining up.

“Where are all the private investors coming from?” she said.

“The premier is dreaming if he thinks he’s going to pluck private investors out of thin air to prop up his pet project at Macquarie Point.”

It was unclear which aspects of the deal Labor would try to renegotiate.

The AFL did not respond directly to questions about whether the price cap was a breach of the deal, or if it would be willing to negotiate with a future Labor government.

Port area of a city with buildings, cars and hills in the background

The government is confident the stadium will fit on the Macquarie Point land.(ABC News: Maren Preuss)

AFL spokesperson Jay Allen said the club was proceeding as planned.

“The AFL’s position is that a clear requirement of the 19th licence is that the team is conditional on a new 23,000-seat roofed stadium at Macquarie Point,” he said.

“We look forward to the unveiling of the club’s name and colours in March.”

Stadium has some political problems 

Economist Saul Eslake believed the cap showed the premier had some issues to address.

“I think that’s a recognition from a political point of view that the stadium has some problems,” he said.

“I certainly think the AFL has extracted an extraordinarily high price from Tasmania, to have a team in the AFL.”

Economist Saul Eslake

Saul Eslake says private investors will be essential for the new stadium.(Four Corners)

It did not mean the stadium was cancelled, however.

Mr Eslake said that private investment was always going to be important for the project.

“If the government can attract private sector investment, or investment from super funds into this … I think there is a business case for entities like that to have some interest in it,” he said.

The group behind an alternative stadium proposal – on reclaimed land on the nearby Regatta Grounds – believes it has already secured private sector investment.

A artist's impression of a rounded silver building jutting into a river.

The alternative proposal for a waterfront stadium in Hobart put forward by a private consortium.(Supplied)

Proponent Dean Coleman has long been critical of the government’s $715 million price tag, arguing that a stadium would cost about $20,000 per square metre.

This would take the government’s proposal to $1.2 billion.

Mr Coleman said his group had private interest in its stadium proposal.

“We have written confirmation from three tier one financial corporations (including Australia’s largest investment bank) that want the opportunity to partner with the state government,” he wrote in a letter to the premier on Thursday.

“Unlike the stadium 1.0 proposal we can cap the cost at $750 million because our other components including the car park, hotel and apartment complex contribute significantly to the cost of the stadium.”

A concept design for different transportation modes at the Macquarie Point precinct.

The stadium was pitched as an “urban renewal project”, including improved infrastructure for the surrounding area.(Supplied: Macquarie Point Development Corporation)

The government’s stadium is being assessed by the Tasmanian Planning Commission.

At the conclusion of that process, it will require the approval of both houses of parliament – in the next term of government.

The Macquarie Point Development Corporation is appointing a quantity surveyor, which should provide an updated cost estimate for the stadium later this year.

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Tasmania set to enter AFL after decades of campaigning

The AFL club presidents have voted unanimously to grant Tasmania the game’s 19th licence, fulfilling decades of dreams for a team from the island state.

During a video meeting this afternoon, the presidents reached a decision within 15 minutes and there were no objections.

The granting of the licence now goes to the AFL Commission for a formal ratification.

An official AFL announcement of the licence is expected as early as Wednesday.

The announcement of $240 million in federal funding towards a 23,000-seat stadium at Hobart’s Macquarie Point was the final hurdle to be cleared before presidents could vote on Tasmania’s bid.

“It’s not an Australian Football League if it leaves off the south island, and that’s what has occurred for too long,” Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Saturday at the stadium funding announcement.

Under that plan, Tasmania will enter the league in 2027, first playing games at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval and Launceston’s York Park before the new stadium is finished in 2028-29.

The stadium is part of a proposed urban renewal project at Macquarie Point.()

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How the Hobart stadium spend is a game-changer in Australian sport

On a bracing Hobart morning in autumn, many Tasmanians were greeted with the news that they had been waiting years to hear.

On the cusp of delivering his government’s second budget, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has committed $240 million to building a stadium at Hobart’s Macquarie Point site, pending the AFL granting Tasmania a licence for a league team.

“The Commonwealth will be providing, in the budget in 10 days time, $240 million of funding for this site and $65 million for the upgrade of UTAS stadium in Launceston as well,” Mr Albanese stated.

“We want to make sure that the benefits of having an AFL team based here in Tasmania means that they can play both in Hobart and in Launceston, as well to develop to deliver the economic benefits for the whole state of Tasmania.”

The $240m promised is a historic figure, the largest a federal government has ever promised to spend on a football stadium.

The budget promise ticked off the last of 12 “workstreams” the AFL articulated for the entry of a standalone Tasmanian team into the AFL competitions.

It is expected in the coming days that the 18 AFL club presidents will vote to grant Tasmania the 19th AFL licence.

The proposed Tasmanian stadium spending adds to the billions of dollars spent on football stadiums across the country in recent years.

Importantly, the spend on the new Hobart stadium breaks new ground for federal government involvement in spending on football stadiums in Australia.

The spending on Macquarie Point may change the relationship between governments and spending on major sporting infrastructure.

Size of the spend

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‘I am concerned’: Emails from Tasmanian premier to AFL boss show strains before funding offer increased

The AFL squeezed an additional $54 million out of the Tasmanian government for a new state team, despite the premier initially arguing extra funding would “compromise sound economic governance”, right to information documents reveal.

The series of emails — dated between June 7 and November 17 last year — appear to show the relationship between AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff becoming increasingly tense, as the pair negotiate the state’s funding contribution to a new team.

The emails show the premier’s correspondence but do not include responses from Mr McLachlan.

In May last year, the Tasmanian government made an offer to the AFL of $10 million per year for 10 years, plus an additional $50 million to cover the team’s establishment costs.

On June 7, Mr Rockliff met with Gillon McLachlan in Hobart to discuss that offer further and sent a letter to all 18 existing club presidents asking them to support Tasmania’s funding proposal, describing it as “well above what has been acceptable to the AFL for new teams in the recent past”.

Following that meeting, Mr McLachlan described the funding offer to the media as “a good start”.

Macquarie Point has been chosen as the site of a yet-to-be-funded AFL stadium in Hobart.()

More than a month later, on July 23, Mr Rockliff sent an email to Mr McLachlan saying the offer had not changed, calling it “fair and strong” and at the high end of the range outlined in the report compiled by former Geelong president Colin Carter on the establishment of a 19th AFL team.

The report had recommended state funding of between $7-11 million per year.

Premier to Mr McLachlan, July 23:

…No expansion club has ever come near replicating an offer like this, and while there is value because the state will derive a return, I will be clear that our government will withdraw its offer if the AFL doesn’t respect its magnitude.

In the email, Mr Rockliff also referred to state’s need to contribute funding to a new purpose-built AFL stadium, which the AFL had outlined the need for in its business case for a Tasmanian team.

…The government has made it publicly clear that we will not fully fund a stadium, and in fact we will draw a line under a maximum contribution of up to 50 per cent, delivered on a site and at a cost that is acceptable to Tasmanians.

This is a decision for the State of Tasmania, not the AFL.

Premier ‘concerned’ by AFL’s ‘latest requirements’

A month later, Mr McLachlan sent an email to Mr Rockliff which is not included in right to information release. However, it includes a cover letter that describes it as including “the key elements of the proposed partnership between the AFL and Tasmanian Government for a 19th AFL licence”.

While it is not clear exactly what the AFL CEO considered the “key elements” for a deal to be, the premier appears to have been unimpressed. A week later, he wrote back:

Premier to Mr McLachlan, August 29:

…I am concerned that the latest AFL requirements compromise current community expectations, sound economic governance and ultimately the sustainability of the club.

Achieving a common objective … will require further substantive engagement between our respective teams that is both socially responsible and mutually beneficial.

In respect of timelines and having only received the response to our May offer last week, I believe this engagement should be expedited as a matter of priority.

But less than a month later, on September 14, Mr Rockliff sent another email to Mr McLachlan, saying Tasmania had now upped its offer to $10 million per year for 15 years.

Mr Rockliff said this upgraded offer came following a “shift in the economic environment and the increase in forecast operating costs for a Tasmanian team since the formulation of the taskforce’s business case”.

He also stressed that Mr McLachlan did not have free rein to speak for Tasmania when talking with other club presidents.

“I must also reiterate that any information going to club presidents that represents Tasmania’s position and interests in regard to the Tasmanian team bid, must first be approved by me,” Mr Rockliff wrote.

He ended the letter with:

Premier to Mr McLachlan, September 14:

My very strong view is that the government’s commitment … underpins a case that cannot be refused by any fair minded person, particularly anyone that has the best interests of the code at heart.

I look forward to your response to the above.

The stadium will only become a reality if the federal government commits funding to it, with a decision expected in next month’s federal budget.()

That revised offer was presented to the AFL club presidents, again calling for their support.

A week later, the Tasmanian government announced that the taxpayer contribution to the team has been revised to $144 million over 12 years, plus $60 million to establish a high-performance complex in Hobart.

That equates to an increase of $44 million for yearly funding since the initial offer plus an additional $10 million in establishment costs.

Concept designs and a “cost plan” for the “AFL Team High Performance Training and Administration Facility” were attached to an email to Mr McLachlan on August 11 but those documents were not available in the freedom of information document release. 

The government had initially hoped a vote by the club presidents on whether to offer Tasmania a 19th licence would take place in August last year, and continually stressed the need for the AFL to agree on a funding deal so the clubs had a proposal to vote on.

However, the funding of the Hobart stadium has become a sticking point.

While the Tasmanian government is willing to contribute $375 million, it will need substantial federal investment to get the project off the ground.

While the state is hoping funding will be provided in the May federal budget, no pre-funding announcement has been made, and it appears the AFL would not take the Tasmanian team bid to the club presidents until they feel assured the stadium will be built.

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