THE battle over AFL games in Tasmania turned to war yesterday, with northern politicians gathering at Aurora Stadium to lobby against State Government funding for Kangaroos games.
Legislative Councillors Ivan Dean, Kerry Finch, Rosemary Armitage, Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten and general manager Robert Dobrzynski, plus alderman Robin McKendrick all spoke against possible Government funding of $500,000 for two games at Bellerive.
Ald McKendrick said it was not a matter of parochialism and of Launceston wanting all AFL games.
“The parochialism is coming from the people in the South and from Marti Zucco, who is just a mouth - that’s all he is - he’s just looking after his electorate,” he said.
“We have never been parochial over cricket in southern Tasmania, we have accepted it and travelled to Hobart, why can’t they accept that a $60-70 million investment of taxpayers’ money into this ground,” he said.
“These people want it in Hobart because they are the capital.”
Hobart City Council Alderman Peter Sexton hit back last night, accusing the northern politicians of being scared they might be expected to make a financial contribution towards future AFL games at Aurora Stadium.
Ald Sexton said the northerners were used to Government handouts because they were in the politically unstable electorate of Bass.
“They have just expected handout after handout after handout,” Ald Sexton said.
He said the precedent set by the South, where local governments and the private sector had raised money to stage the AFL games at Bellerive, was terrifying for the North because they did not want to follow the example.
“They are terrified that they will have to put their hands into their own pockets,” he said.
FLY-IN AFL AT BELLERIVE SHOULD NOT HAVE DIRECT GOVT SUBSIDISATION
Budget Cutbacks Should Push AFL Fly-In Teams to Low Priority
Nick McKim MP
The Tasmanian Greens today stated that consistent with their policy position to not support taxpayer subsidisation for the AFL Hawthorn deal at Aurora Stadium, they would not support direct government funding for AFL games at Bellerive.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that the community is facing tough budget challenges ahead, and that there were other urgent priorities for government assistance, including welfare organisation and people doing it tough.
“With the budget challenges facing us, the Greens believe the top priorities need to be assisting those in our community doing it tough, and the many other urgent and worthwhile demands requiring funding assistance, rather than taxpayer funds being used to bring fly-in AFL matches to Bellerive,” Mr McKim said.
“This is consistent with the position we took over the Hawthorn deal.”
“Decision makers should be making the best decision for all Tasmanians, rather than seemingly populist ones, and this responsibility is even more important when facing tough financial times and increasing demands on a shrinking budget pie.”
“If there is more money for footy it should be prioritised for Tasmanian country and suburban clubs, many of whom are really struggling,” Mr McKim said.
PREMIER ANNOUNCMENT ON AFL WELCOMED BY GREENS
Nick McKim MP
The Tasmanian Greens today welcomed Premier, Lara Giddings’ announcement, that AFL games at Bellerive are likely but that state budget funds will not be used to secure those games.
Greens Leader Nick McKim MP said that Ms Giddings’ announcement is consistent with the Greens position to support AFL in Tasmania but not to use taxpayer dollars.
“This is good news. It’s a win-win outcome where by it now looks likely that AFL games at Bellerive can go ahead but it will not require state budget funds in these very challenging budget circumstances,” Mr McKim said.
“Ms Giddings’ announcement today is consistent with Greens’ position. In tough budget times we have to make sure that the state budget is prioritised to delivering core services to Tasmanians.”