You are here

Macquarie Point Stadium Proposal

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 9 May 2023

Tags: Stadium

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, I know that overwhelmingly and over generations, Tasmanians have dreamed of us taking our rightful place in the national league. It is a long-held dream of Tasmanians for us to have our own AFL and our own AFLW teams. There is a broad recognition in the community that over the decades, we have given far more than we have taken from the AFL; and yet this deal is the AFL shafting Tasmania. That is what has happened here.

This rich entity, with billions of dollars in its bank account, has demanded of this island and its people at least $1 billion in expenditure for us to have the team we had earned on our own merits. The arrogance of it is breathtaking, as is the disrespect for this island and its people and the obvious contempt the AFL has for us, as Tasmanians. They clearly regarded our Premier, Jeremy Rockliff, as a soft touch. No pushback; no obvious signs he was trying to get a better deal for Tasmania. They knew, probably, given this Government's track record, the transparency around the deal was not going to be a problem for the AFL.

We need to see that contract. It is a contract that a man who will be back on the potato farm after the next election, signed with a man who is leaving the AFL, on behalf of the people of Tasmania, who are the funders. The Tasmanian people will fund this stadium. The Tasmanian people will pay for the losses of $306 million over 20 years. The Tasmanian people will pay for all the road upgrades, the wharf upgrade, and the associated infrastructure that goes with this stadium. Yet, the Tasmanian people, the principal funders here, cannot see that deal. There is something really corrupted about that.

How is it that two blokes in suits can sign away our future like that, without showing us what they signed? We heard today from the Premier that maybe they will release some more details after the cooling off period after the contract has expired. That means nobody in the broader community, or in here, will see that contract while there is still time to get out of it if it is a dud deal. The lack of transparency around this stadium is emblematic of this Government and this Premier.

They treat the people of Tasmania with contempt. They certainly treat the people of my hometown with contempt. Overwhelmingly, people in Clark and southern Tasmania reject this billion-dollar stadium. They want a government that invests in homes for people. They want a government that does not just pay lip service to having health as a number one priority, when that is so not true. They want a government that really invests in the health of our people, and they see this stadium as a set of really twisted priorities. There is no mandate for it. It was not mentioned before the last state election. The people of Tasmania have not been given a say.

In the parliamentary recess, the Tasmanian Greens pulled out of the tri-partisan deal, because while we passionately support a team we will never, ever support that stadium. We will never support such squandering of the public purse, such a lost opportunity at Macquarie Point. I do not know if the Premier even bothered to have a look at the work of former Governor Kate Warner; Rowland Browne; Shamus Mulcahy; Richard Flanagan; and Greg Lehman; but, in a few short weeks a group from the community could pull together a vision for Macquarie Point that included housing, a reconciliation art park, a science precinct, and public transport connections. They delivered a vision that makes Macquarie Point a place for the people.

Instead, this is not an offer to Tasmanians. This is being imposed on us, and it is a resistant populous. The people are angry. What Ms Finlay just conveyed in the House is very similar to the conversations I am having with everyday people and stakeholders, where they express their fury about this decision and this secretive deal. I predict that the anger will not only persist, it will grow.

The press conference the other day with Jeremy Rockliff, Richard Marles and Gillon McLachlan told us everything we need to know about this deal. A bunch of blokes in suits telling us how it is going to be. The Premier on social media was making the glib comment that the people of Tasmania do not like being told by people in suits from the mainland what to do. Well, he sure likes it, Mr Speaker, because that is exactly what happened. Gillon McLachlan swanned into town and Jeremy Rockliff buckled. He signed away our future and will not show us what he signed. We know he is not committed to this job. We know he is the reluctant premier. He was going to leave after the last state election.

Here we are, stuck as a people, a small state with huge social and economic challenges, with a part-time premier selling us up the river with no transparency and no honour at all.