The stadium planned for central Hobart’s last remaining tract of waterfront land represents a costly capitulation to the AFL and it’s unclear how the associated public funding will deliver the promised ‘urban renewal’. By Gabriella Coslovich.

In a depressingly accurate case of life imitating art, a costly new stadium is being inflicted upon Tasmanians whether they like it or not, just as occurs in an early episode of the brilliant and all-too-prescient comedy series Utopia.

Tasmania finds itself in this uncanny state of affairs following a series of chummy meetings between the AFL’s chief executive, Gillon McLachlan, and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff. Last June, McLachlan swanned into Hobart and declared that if Tasmania wanted an AFL team of its own, it would have to build a new stadium. “This team needs and will have a new stadium if you want a licence, and I think Tasmanians would expect that,” McLachlan pronounced, like a man used to getting his way.

No one had asked, actually, what Tasmanians expected or wanted. It’s the AFL that expects and wants a new stadium, and it’s dictating exactly where that stadium will go: central Hobart’s last remaining tract of prime waterfront land, Macquarie Point. Inexplicably, Rockliff is cheering on this unsporting land grab. It might be funny if it weren’t true.

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