Tasmanian government 'sold out' state over AFL deal

·3-min read
Rob Blakers/AAP PHOTOS

Tasmania's premier has divided and "sold out" the state over his deal with the AFL for a 19th licence and plans for a contentious $715 million stadium, opposition parties say.

Liberal Premier Jeremy Rockliff's government entered parliament on Tuesday in minority for the first time after MPs John Tucker and Lara Alexander quit the party on May 12.

The now-independents cited transparency concerns surrounding the state government's deal with the AFL.

Funding for the proposed stadium at Macquarie Point in Hobart was locked in last month, prompting the AFL to grant the state a licence for the league's 19th team.

Opposition Leader Rebecca White moved a motion of no confidence against Mr Rockliff in parliament on Tuesday.

"(Their) reckless behaviour has divided Tasmania. That is poor leadership," the Labor leader said.

"When we could have been united celebrating a team ... we have been divided.

"It's a terrible deal, an absolute shocker. This is a government in chaos, it is in disarray."

State Labor, the Greens, as well as some independents at state and federal level, have campaigned against the stadium, arguing the money could be better spent on essential services.

State Greens leader Cassy O'Connor said Mr Rockliff had sold out Tasmania and been walked over by AFL boss Gillon McLachlan.

"What a price Tasmanians have been asked to pay," she said.

"There is no way this adds up as fiscally responsible."

Mr Tucker and Ms Alexander have pledged to vote with the government against the no confidence motion, meaning it will fail.

Mr Tucker told state parliament the stadium plan was seen by the community as placing the needs of the "haves" above those of the "have nots".

The Liberal government holds just 11 of 25 lower house seats.

The deal between the state government and the AFL was made public on Sunday.

It revealed the government would foot the bill for any stadium cost overruns and must also fork out $4.5m a year if the facility isn't ready to host games by the team's proposed second season in 2029.

As part of a deal with Mr Tucker and Ms Alexander, the government pledged to declare the stadium a project of state significance.

This means it will need to be voted through both houses of parliament before it is assessed by the planning commission.

Mr Rockliff on Tuesday indicated he was seeking advice about law changes to ensure the parliament could have a second vote on the plan after it is assessed by the commission.

Tasmania was granted an AFL licence on May 3 after a decades-long fight.

The AFL says the team cannot exist without the new stadium.

The state government has pledged $375m towards the stadium, with the federal government chipping in $240m for the stadium and broader infrastructure at the site.

Mr Rockliff conceded he had "lost some skin" over the stadium but said he wanted to take Tasmania forward.

"It's no good being in government and sitting on your hands," he said.