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AFL Team and Stadium - Terms of Agreements

Cassy O'Connor MP

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Tags: AFL, Stadium, Transparency


You seem to be oblivious to the seething anger across the Tasmanian community about your Government's truly warped priorities, just as you were apparently oblivious to the homeless tents on the Domain and the giant sewerage tanks behind you and the Prime Minister on the day he betrayed his Labor roots and his State Labor colleagues to announce $240 million in stadium funding.

We know transparency is not your strong point but surely even you will agree that Tasmanians have the right to see the full details of the arrangements you have stitched up with the federal government and the AFL. Tasmanians are the ones who are paying the price for your gross and unnecessary largesse but we do not know what you have signed us up to.

Will you today detail in full exactly what you have agreed with federal Labor and with the AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan, including every single condition and contingency arrangement? Can you tell us when you will be tabling the full unredacted contracts and supporting documents for the Macquarie Point Stadium and AFL team?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for her question. I was hopeful that we would have tripartisan support for the AFL team -

Ms O'Connor - That is on you because you lied to us.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Not appropriate, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - I have a pretty thick skin, Mr Speaker, and in the interests of time I will not ask you necessarily - frankly, you should withdraw it if you had any decency.

I was hopeful for tripartisan support. We had bipartisan support of some sort from the Labor Party. These are big decisions that are not taken lightly and take leadership and courage. These are also decisions that are easy to play politics with, and those opposite have played politics with opportunity. It is fantastic to secure our own AFL team and ensure that our young kids do not have that barrier if they wish to play in the national competition in AFL or AFLW but they can actually play it here now in Tasmania in 2028. It is the same -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. Sorry for the tedious repetition on my part, but it is Standing Order 45, relevance. The Premier has been asked about the contracts and the supporting documents. We heard this answer to his previous question; we heard these words. We would like an answer to the question we are asking on behalf of the Tasmanian people.

Mr SPEAKER - Again, I can only refer the Premier to Standing Order 45. I cannot put words in the Premier's mouth but I will allow him to answer the question.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Not only will we have the opportunity to keep our young kids here to play elite competition, but all the tradies can also stay here and build and complete our infrastructure, along with the houses, $1.5 billion of investment, 10 000 homes over the course of the next 10 years. Tasmania is tradie heaven. There are jobs and there is a pipeline of -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker, Standing Order 45, relevance. If you want me to stop doing this could you please direct the Premier to answer the question. He did not answer our previous question and it looks like he is not going to answer this one. He needs to answer it.

Mr SPEAKER - Again, I can only remind the Premier, as every member knows, of Standing Order 45. I will allow the Premier to continue.

Mr ROCKLIFF - The state expects to benefit from strong AFL and AFLW fixtures including big touring clubs playing across the three regions of our wonderful state. As we have previously stated, the Tasmanian Government's commitment includes $60 million to assist the establishment of the team's operations and to construct a high-performance centre for use by the team, operational funding of $12 million for 12 years, as I have been open and transparent about, for the team's entry into the AFL and AFLW competitions. The AFL will invest $360 million into Tasmanian football as part of the licence deal and this will flow throughout communities and clubs, including a minimum of $15 million into stadiums, $10 million into the club's training and administration, $93 million into game developments, $33 million into development of young male and female talent, and $209 million in distributions to the new club over the first 10 years.

Ms O'Connor - Are you going to make the contract public?

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Importantly, games will be played across the state. Investment in infrastructure, including UTAS and Dial Park, will unlock more opportunities for content in both the north and the north-west. As I have said, the AFL confirmed there will be three academies starting for under-12s in all three regions of the state. The new academies will be in Launceston and Penguin for boys and girls. The new club will have risk concessions, including priority access to Tasmanian players to keep them here, and a new destination stadium in Hobart that will attract coaches, players, visitors and fans while unlocking urban renewal and a conventions and events market Tasmania has never attracted before.

To support these talent pathways, there will be a significant step-change in grassroots football around the state -

Ms O'CONNOR - Point of order, Mr Speaker. It is becoming dispiriting to ask questions and never have them answered - Standing Order 45, relevance. The Premier has not gone anywhere near the question and this is being allowed. Where is the contract?

Mr SPEAKER - Again, I can only remind the Premier of the standing order and allow him to continue how he answers the question.

Mr ROCKLIFF - The Tasmanian Government understands -

Ms O'Connor - The contract?

Mr SPEAKER - Ms O'Connor, I will remind you to have a look at Standing Order 148. Do not interrupt.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Mr Speaker, the Tasmanian Government understands the strong community interest in commercial arrangements of this nature. Typically, regarding disclosure, the starting point is that government agreements are disclosed, whether routinely or on request. However, in the case of the club funding and development agreement, a number of provisions will need to remain confidential. Given the contract has been heavily negotiated, the release of the negotiated position of the AFL may be detrimental to future negotiations of the AFL with third parties and could prejudice or disrupt the relationships the AFL has in respect of similar arrangements.

Similarly, the Tasmanian Government considers that disclosure of some specific clauses may be detrimental to the state Government's ability to negotiate on similar transactions in the future.

We do anticipate, however, being able to release details of the club funding and development agreement, club establishment activities, funding arrangements, AFL licence conditions, AFLW commencement process, infrastructure development activities, and the club's constitution. These details will be released as soon as they are no longer subject to commercially sensitive cooling-off periods and various company establishment elements are complete. These will occur at various times over the coming months. The biggest condition, of course, is that we need to build the stadium to support the long-term sustainability of the team and there is no secret about that.

The big unknown is what those opposite are going to do. The AFL has given us the green light. Part of that was the condition to build the stadium for AFL and other opportunities for entertainment. I will make it very clear: at some point in time you will have to stop playing politics with this issue, because -

Mr Winter - We are holding you to account.

Mr ROCKLIFF - Always happy to be held to account, as you all know, but at some point in time you are going to have to be very honest with the Tasmanian people, because no stadium means no team and you kill the dream. So what are you going to do?

You know full well the importance of long-term sustainability of the AFL and AFLW teams and I was not going to sign up to a team that fails. This is about dotting every 'i' and crossing every 't' to ensure that this team, when it commences in 2028, is there for generations to come, providing inspiration and aspiration for all young footy players, boys and girls, for future generations.