A Shorten Labor Government will set up a pathway to make a Tasmanian men’s and women’s AFL teams a reality, with a $25 million investment in a establishing a permanent AFL presence in the state.
Tasmanians love their footy, and while several clubs have made the state a second home over the years, it’s another thing altogether to have a club wearing a Tassie jumper and representing the state day in, day out.
That’s why Labor will put proper investment on the table and commit $25 million in funding to support the establishment of an AFL club in Tasmania, contingent on an AFL decision to issue a licence.
Having a permanent AFL presence will not only be good for the Tassie economy – it’s great for young players, local clubs and footy followers across the state.
This won’t be an easy task and it won’t happen overnight. But after years of being strung along on the possibility of a team, Tasmania deserves some progress and this $25 million provides a strong incentive for that to happen.
Labor’s $25 million investment would go towards seed funding to a Tasmanian AFL club, conditional on the AFL granting a licence to compete in both men’s and women’s leagues. This won’t be a licence to import interstate players - it will be directed to investments that will support a new club, including facilities and player development.
With the AFL confirming that Tasmanian VFL and TAC sides will be competing in the coming years, Labor will make $1 million of this funding available to assist the establishment of these sides.
This is in addition to our $5 million Save our Footy Fund - strengthening and supporting grassroots footy across the state. The future of the game in Tassie begins at the grassroots - and we need to get participation rates up to parity for youth and senior teams to underpin a strong footballing future in Tasmania.
Tasmania has a strong football tradition and has produced some of the game’s biggest stars. Yet without a team competing in the highest competition, Tasmania is being short changed, and the impact is now being seen with the Tasmania State League under pressure.
Government can play a key role in ending the stalemate around a Tassie club - by supporting the local league, working with the AFL and providing leadership to get the right conditions for a team to exist in the state.
Labor’s policy will aim to ensure there are the best possible conditions for the development of junior Tasmanian footy players – both boys and girls – and, in the long term, create the conditions for the best possible reasons for young Tasmanian players to stay in Tasmania – the creation of a standalone AFL club permanently based in Tasmania.
We’re backing stronger communities, better jobs and opportunities for Tassie kids - because we think it’s more important to give Tasmanians better access to sport and community activities than it is to give the banks a $17 billion handout.
SATURDAY, 7 JULY 2018