The State Government needs to send a strong message to the AFL that Tasmania will not be taken for granted. This is a crossroads moment for the state, either the AFL are serious or they are not.
Shadow Sports Minister David O’Byrne said the AFL Taskforce report debunks the myths and sets out a clear pathway for a sustainable Tassie club, and the state now needs to pursue a strategy that delivers that.
“It’s clear the two current football deals are our key leverage point in negotiations for a license for a Tasmanian club in the AFL, the Taskforce report spells that out.
“Every step taken as a state must move us closer to achieving a license for a Tasmanian club. What’s needed now is for the state government to show the AFL there will be no more concessions.
“Labor supports the recommendations of the report, but without a clear committed pathway to a Tasmanian licence Labor does not support renewal of the sponsorship deal with the Kangaroos.
“The Kangaroos are welcome to continue to play games at Bellerive Oval, they have worked hard to build links in the community since Labor brought them to Hobart in 2012.
“This is not about the Kangaroos, this is about putting Tasmania first, and Labor believes there should be no further taxpayer funds allocated to them, without a pathway to a Tasmanian team in the AFL.”
Mr O’Byrne said Labor supports renewal of the deal with Hawthorn.
“This deal delivers real benefits to the economy of northern Tasmania, with people travelling from across the state and interstate to York Park. It’s an important part of the state’s events strategy.
“But unless we receive a clear commitment from the AFL on a timeline for a club of our own we cannot support more taxpayer funds being tipped into the North Melbourne deal. There’s not the same economic justification.
“This funding would be better spent investing in grassroots footy, growing womens’ footy, and ensuring funding for events in the south of the state through the winter months to support the tourism and hospitality sector.
“Now is the time for a clear signal from the State Government to the AFL that we will not solve their problems for them, especially while they take Tasmanian football fans for granted.”
Shadow Minister for Sport