No fear of missing out: Launceston firmly in AFL sights

The taskforce pushing for an AFL team in Tasmania remains firm in its view that matches should be split between Launceston and Hobart, despite independent concept designs for a Macquarie Point stadium being released.

Hobart architect Don Gallagher this week published his impression of a 27,000-seat stadium in the precinct, accommodating AFL training facilities and designed to "strengthen Tasmanian's bid for a stand-alone AFL state team".

The state government has stepped back from the proposal as a stadium was not part of its Macquarie Point master plan.

AFL taskforce member Errol Stewart said building a new stadium in Hobart had not been considered.

The Macquarie Point design incorporates the cenotaph and could include a proposed reconciliation area. Concept design: Don Gallagher

The Macquarie Point design incorporates the cenotaph and could include a proposed reconciliation area. Concept design: Don Gallagher

"If we built a big Taj Mahal in Hobart, does that mean Launceston misses out on something? That's something the taskforce would be concerned about, the government would be concerned about, and the audience too because they wouldn't want all investment being put into Hobart," he said.

"We haven't made recommendations to the government to consider a stadium."

MORE ON THE PUSH FOR AN AFL TEAM IN TASMANIA:

Mr Stewart said UTAS Stadium would need to be upgraded to increase its capacity and provide up-to-date training facilities, but gaining a provisional AFL licence remained the first step before detailed plans could be discussed.

"We cannot hurt Launceston and we cannot hurt Hobart in this process. From the taskforce's point of view, we're clear that the home games will be split six and five, evenly divided between north and south," he said.

The Macquarie Point idea was criticised by independent Member for Clark Andrew Wilkie.

Tasmanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Michael Bailey said the two-city approach was not necessarily the best idea.

UTAS Stadium's capacity of 21,000 was something that would need to be increased to accommodate an AFL team.

UTAS Stadium's capacity of 21,000 was something that would need to be increased to accommodate an AFL team.

"From a TCCI perspective, we believe there needs to be a focus on a single location to play from in Tassie. We believe, as we see with Geelong, when a team has one home base that they know intimately, it becomes a 'house of pain' for visiting teams," he said.

"Our view is the focus should be on UTAS Stadium to be the centre for the proposed AFL team in Tasmania."

UTAS Stadium's 21,000 capacity would need to be increased, and there could be opportunities for UTAS to have a sports science partnership with the club as part of the university's shift to Inveresk, Mr Bailey said.

"A good thing about York Park is that it's very easy to add extra stands to it, it's a precinct that has much better parking and access than Bellerive," he said.

"Kardinia Park in Geelong shows a good way to go about it. Their ownership model - a trust - works well, and they've been able to do upgrades incrementally over the years."

This story Launceston firmly in AFL sights first appeared on The Examiner.