MLC sets goal for Tassie AFL team

TASMANIA’S quest for its own AFL team gained fresh legs when independent MLC Ivan Dean pressed the Legislative Council to investigate the benefits of a team to the state’s economy and whether or not taxpayers should foot the bill.

A notice of motion to form a select committee to investigate the state’s own team was tabled by Mr Dean.

The committee would also examine State Government funding for Hawthorn and North Melbourne AFL games in Tasmania – increased by one to eight next year, four in Hobart and four in Launceston – among seven terms of reference.

“When we come back on November 20 I intend to move that a select committee be set up to look at AFL in Tasmania, where we are at and what we need to do,” Mr Dean said.

“It is a result of discussions I’ve been having with a number of people, including Saul Eslake, and something needs to be done in this state to know where we are going, and get a clearer position moving forward.

“We need to satisfy some of those concerns the AFL has indicated we need to sort out, such as parochialism and where things would be placed should we have a team here.”

The committee’s terms of reference would include ascertaining the support required to sustain a Tasmanian AFL team and possible solutions to the AFL’s perception of Tasmania being geographically and politically divided.

It would also examine the impact on the aspirations — and future participation rates — of Tasmanian youth from knowing they can only be drafted to interstate teams.