SECURING the controversial North Melbourne games for Bellerive will cost Tasmanian taxpayers more than $1 million in a secret deal struck between the AFL and state government.
This is despite Premier Lara Giddings repeatedly saying her cash-strapped government would not put any state money towards securing the matches.
In State Parliament on Tuesday, Ms Giddings revealed that a $92,000 payout to AFL Tasmania was approved two weeks after the North Melbourne deal was clinched on June 7.
That was half of the extra cash ex- premier David Bartlett promised to give AFL Tasmania each year for grassroots football back in 2009.
That promise has now been belatedly kept with the state this month signing off on a five-year deal that increases AFL Tasmania’s annual funding package from $315,000 to $500,000.
It is understood that in addition AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou settled for half of the $185,000, he felt was overdue, as part of the North Melbourne deal.AFL Tasmania general manager Scott Wade yesterday described the process between the three parties as long and exhausting.
“The reason it took such a long time to stitch this up was because it was indirectly linked to the renegotiation of the Hawthorn deal and the new North Melbourne deal,” he said.
News of the deal comes at a time when health, education and police are all facing tough budget cuts.
However, Mr Wade said the new deal signed in the past month equalled the state’s investment in Cricket Tasmania.