When the Premier promised to spend “not a cent more” than his original commitment of $375M on the stadium, ostensibly in an effort to “clear the decks” before the election campaign started, it made us wonder whether that was really what his announcement was about.

When considering why we’re now heading to an early election, a number of possible reasons have emerged:

1.  Was it just another WMD (weapon of mass distraction) to keep the chattering classes arguing about anything other than the woeful state of service delivery under his government?

With government failing on almost any measure – health, education, housing, even the much-lauded economic indicators don’t look so healthy when judged on a per capita basis – the previous government doesn’t really have a lot to skite about.


2.  Was it an attempt to bend the narrative to make $375M sound paltry?

As estimates climb and the sum of $1B is regularly tossed around, anything under half that amount has to sound like a good deal, doesn’t it?

Of course, this ignores the ongoing losses in GST revenue incurred by the Federal ‘grant’ of $240M which has not been quarantined against future GST revenue, so he should at the very least be talking about $615M in costs to the state budget. It also ignores the resiting of the sewerage works (~$160M), road and bridge reconfiguration (~$50M) and more.


3.  Is he paving the way for the Lennon/Coleman Stadium 2.0 team to ride in like white knights and save the day?

“Look, we’ve already run the numbers, done our due diligence with the RSL, HCC & Indigenous groups, drawn up plans and engineering details, lined up our financial backers, and we won’t ask for a cent over $715M from the state!” … oh, and the gift of several acres of prime waterfront land for free …


4.  Is he simply throwing down the gauntlet in an effort to wedge Labor and the Greens (and any sensible Independents) as anti-stadium and therefore anti-team?


5.  Did the impending sittings of the PAC and the imminent release of the Final Guidelines for the POSS from the TPC really put the wind up him?

The Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) was scheduled the next week to hear from several strong anti-stadium groups and proponents for alternative uses of the funds.

The Tasmanian Planning Commission (TPC) released its assessment guidelines for A Stadium at Macquarie Point the day after the Premier’s announcement. Anyone who’s had the time to peruse these can see how restrictive they’ll be for any half-baked plans drawn up between two individuals with no experience in planning and no real understanding of the site.

Much better to lay the Stadium contract as a landmine for the next government to tiptoe around.


In addressing these possible motivations, here at Our Place, we have decided to stick to our knitting.

There is no NEED for a third AFL ground in this state.

If a business case can’t be made for a Tassie team operating out of York Park/UTAS stadium and/or Bellerive/Blundstone Arena, there can be no case to be made for spending over a billion dollars of state funds just to attract fans to buy membership at a third location. TAS AFL needs to go back to developing the sport, building a team from the ground up, not this top down, ‘pie-in-the-sky’ imagineering. If a fisherman isn’t catching any fish, buying a bigger boat isn’t going to change that.

The opportunity costs of spending $715M (which we all know is fanciful) or $615M (which includes the GST) or even $375M on another stadium are too great, especially one situated at Mac Point.

The site is too precious and could be otherwise developed to solve many of our current problems around housing, while addressing peace and reconciliation, and respecting the heritage values of the site. It could go further and align with Hobart’s recent UNESCO listing as a City of Literature by relocating the State Library to its heart, as well as providing space for an Indigenous Art and Heritage Centre, and for the Antarctic Division.

The Our Place Vision does all these and more, all at a scale that is in keeping with the surrounding precinct and the rich heritage contained therein.