TASMANIA’S government and the AFL have reached an in-principle agreement on commercial terms of the state’s bid for a 19th licence, but the timeline around a final decision remains unclear.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan and Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff announced the agreement on Friday in Hobart, describing it as a “great step forward”.
The Tasmanian government’s funding commitment includes $12 million per year over 12 years, plus $60 million towards a high-performance and administration complex.
McLachlan indicated an announcement on Tasmania’s bid was “close” but wouldn’t specify a time frame or commit to sealing the deal before his tenure as chief executive finishes at the end of the year.
“The decision requires the support of our AFL clubs and we are having productive discussions there,” he said.
“In recent days we’ve come a long way with our clubs.
“They’ve had detailed information around every aspect of the bid. We’ve got generally very positive feedback.”
It appears the final piece of the puzzle is locking in funding for the construction of a new stadium on Hobart’s waterfront, which could carry a price tag of $750 million.
The state Liberal government has promised to fund half of the stadium, with the remainder of the cash to be sought from the federal government, private sector involvement and equity raising.
Rockliff said the state government had finalised a stadium business case and would soon take it to the federal government.
The stadium proposal does not have universal backing in Tasmania, with the state Labor opposition and the Greens among those opposed.
“Every change that we make in the AFL has people who have different views and I would ask them to look at the bigger picture. It’s our obligation to lead,” McLachlan said.