Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff ‘sick of mistruths’ about $750m AFL Hobart stadium plan

Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff has launched a vigorous defense of his plans to spend an estimated $375 million on a new Hobart stadium as his government faces growing political pressure from all sides.

Last week, the government announced it had reached an in-principle commercial agreement with the AFL for a Tasmanian team, indicating that broad costings had been agreed to.

The agreement also includes the proposal for a roofed stadium at Hobart’s Macquarie Point, estimated to cost $750 million and requiring contributions from the federal government and the private sector.

This aspect has proven to be the most politically challenging for the state government, with criticisms including the willingness to accept AFL boss Gillon McLachlan’s demand for a new stadium at all costs, despite the state already having two AFL-standard grounds.

Mr Rockliff took to his Facebook page yesterday to get on the front foot, following his meetings with Mr McLachlan last week.

He attempted to correct “common mistruths”.

“I’ve also seen a small, vocal group of detractors, unfortunately, report mistruths in an effort to damage our dreams of a Tasmanian AFL Team,” Mr Rockliff wrote.

“To be perfectly honest with you all, I’m sick of it.”

In this concept image, a stadium shines brightly in Hobart under a pink evening sky.
The latest concept art of the stadium at Macquarie Point.(Supplied: AFL)

The first common criticism was that money would be diverted from health and housing to fund the AFL team.

Tasmania’s health system is continuously under strain, and the priority homelessness list has grown consistently for years, but Mr Rockliff believed these areas were being addressed.

His second comment addressed the issue of York Park and Bellerive Oval, describing how the Launceston ground would also be receiving major upgrades to host AFL matches as part of the bid.

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