Macquarie Point Stadium
|Category||Design awaiting implementation|
|Cost||A$ 715 M ($ 476.4 M)|
Macquarie Point Stadium – design description
Why is a new stadium needed in Hobart?
Because Australian football is hugely popular in Tasmania, there have been discussions about establishing a team in Tasmania to participate in the competition since the Victorian State League (VFL) became an all-Australian competition (AFL) in 1990. However, over the years this goal has not been realised and the only tangible presence of the league on the island is the occasional games played by teams based in Melbourne.
Back in 2019, a report emerged stating that neither of the island's two largest stadiums, either Bellerive Oval in the state capital, Hobart, or York Park in Launceston (Tasmania's second largest city, located in the north of the island and also aspiring to host an AFL team), with a capacity of around 20,000 spectators each, is a serious bid to become the home venue of a potential AFL team.
The desired solution, which is one of the key conditions for a team from Tasmania to join as the league's 19th team, is the construction of a new, larger and more modern stadium.
What was the previous concept for a new stadium in Hobart?
On March 1, 2022, Tasmania's Premier, Peter Gutwein, unveiled a plan for a new stadium in Hobart. The stadium was to be built on the banks of the River Derwent, on an artificially raised jetty, at what is known as Regatta Point. The facility was to have a retractable roof and stands for 27 000 spectators. The stadium was estimated to cost A$750 million to build.
When was the new vision for the stadium at Macquarie Point conceived?
However, after consultation with AFL league officials, there was a turnaround and in September 2022 the so-called Macquarie Point site was designated as the preferred location. The location is not far from Regatta Point, near the obelisk of 'The Cenotaph'. The choice of Macquarie Point eliminates the need for an artificial jetty.
What does the concept for the new Macquarie Point Stadium entail?
The previous concept of a stadium with a retractable roof was abandoned. The new vision is for a 23 000 capacity facility with a fixed, largely transparent roof covering both the stands and the pitch. As a facility suitable for Australian football, it will feature an oval playing field. Initial visuals showing the new concept were released in November 2022.
The lack of need for a jetty, the abandonment of the movable roof and the reduction in capacity were supposed to reduce costs. These have indeed been reduced, albeit relatively modestly, as the cost of building the facility this time is estimated at A$715 million.
Who will Macquarie Point Stadium serve?
The main host for Macquarie Point Stadium will be the new AFL team, which is intended to represent all of Tasmania. In addition to the new stadium in Hobart, its base will be York Park in Launceston, which is to be upgraded. The team is likely to be called the Devils. The team is due to join the AFL league in 2028, and if the new stadium is not complete by then, the team will play its first games in Hobart at Bellerive Oval.
The new stadium, while primarily designed for the new AFL team, is expected to become a venue for a variety of sporting and cultural events. The full roofing of the facility will allow it to be ranked as one of the most modern of its kind in the country and will increase the capacity to attract major events. On the other hand, there are concerns that a permanent roof could prevent international cricket matches from being held.
Where will the new stadium be built in Hobart?
Macquarie Point, which has been designated as the site for the new stadium, is located just outside Hobart's inner city, on the banks of the River Derwent. The site formerly had an industrial character. It was home to a large cargo handling facility. Following the opening of the new Brighton Transport Hub north of the city in 2014, the railway line leading to Macquarie Point was closed and the terminal lost its importance.
The post-industrial area located almost in the heart of the city centre was decided to be revitalised. To this end, the Macquarie Point Development Corporation was formed. There were various ideas for the future development of the site.
The 2016 plan called for the construction of commercial facilities, including retail and flats, as well as an art gallery or an Antarctic research centre. There was also an idea to install a truth and reconciliation centre on the site to address the history of Aboriginal and white co-existence.
Interestingly, a stadium had already been proposed for the site in the past, but neither of the two concepts that emerged lived to see fruition. Following the emergence of new plans for a stadium in 2022, these have become the focus of discussion in the context of the future development of Macquarie Point.
How is the construction of Macquarie Point Stadium planned to be financed?
According to estimates, A$715 million will be required to build the stadium. The Tasmanian Government planned to contribute A$375 million. A$15 million was to be contributed by the AFL. A$85 million was planned to be raised from loans or rental profits. The missing A$240 million the Tasmanians wanted to receive from the federal budget.
When were the key decisions for the construction of Macquarie Point Stadium made?
At the end of April 2023, the Australian Government approved A$240 million in funding to build a new stadium in Hobart. Shortly thereafter, in early May, the AFL committee unanimously approved an application to expand the league to include an additional 19th Tasmanian team. The team was granted a licence to play in the AFL from 2028.
What controversy has been stirred up by plans to build a new stadium in Hobart?
However, the plans to build a stadium are causing considerable controversy. Some financial analyses show that the project is not viable and the stadium will make a significant loss. There are also concerns that the facility will interfere with the view from under the obelisk of 'The Cenotaph'.
Shortly after the key decisions in April/May 2023, a protest was organised outside Tasmania's Parliament against the stadium being built. Around 6,000 people attended the demonstration, demanding that the money earmarked for the stadium be used for more necessary purposes, such as medical care and the construction of affordable housing.
Two Tasmanian House of Assembly MPs, mainly in protest at the large stadium expenditure, quit the Liberal Party in May 2023, causing the party to lose its majority in the Tasmanian Parliament.
When will a new stadium be built in Hobart?
The protests and other obstacles show that the initiative may still face a number of challenges on the way to a stadium and a new AFL team. However, if all goes to plan, construction could begin in 2025 and the stadium would be ready in 2028 or 2029.
Australia: Tasmania to have a club in AFL to play at new stadium in Hobart
Tasmania has completed its long-running bid for an Australian Football League team by confirming that it has been awarded the 19th licence for the club, which will play at a new stadium in Hobart. The Tasmanian Government has committed to work with the Federal Government to build a 23,000-seat covered stadium at Macquarie Point.