House debates

Monday, 18 June 2018

Statements by Members

Football Federation Australia

1:42 pm

Photo of Andrew WilkieAndrew Wilkie (Denison, Independent) Share this | | Hansard source

The A-League is expanding and FFA is due to announce a shortlist of new teams very shortly. If common sense prevails, Hobart will be one of them. Hurrah, I say, because a Hobart A-League team would be a wonderful rallying point for the community. It would inject millions of dollars into the Tasmanian economy, boost TV audiences and establish soccer as the only true national football code.

I have spoken to the proponents on a number of occasions, including Harry Stamoulis and Robert Belteky. I'm confident they've got a strong proposal. Considering FFA encouraged Mr Stamoulis personally to lodge an expression of interest, I hold out hope that Hobart will be in the mix. I hope too that the Hobart team consortium has addressed the W-League in its proposal.

The Tasmanian government has an important role to play here. The Premier needs to commit publicly to supporting not only a Hobart A-League team but also a purpose-built rectangular soccer stadium in the city. I have also taken this proposal to the Prime Minister, who seemed genuinely interested. He also needs to commit publicly to supporting a Hobart A-League team. Let's hope that politicians and the Football Federation of Australia see the benefits of a Tasmanian team and what that will do for Tasmania and for football nationally.