UTAS Stadium - reconfiguration for soccer

Ms ARMITAGE question to MINISTER for SPORT and RECREATION, Ms HOWLETT

I thank the minister for providing an answer to my questions about soccer funding and support in Tasmania on 16 September and, with regard to these, ask the following -

Will the minister please advise -

(1) Does the minister understand that right now Tasmania has less than three months to prepare for this window of assessments and announcements, and that the ability to showcase our grounds and facilities for these opportunities is a pressing matter?

(2) To this end, can the minister please indicate the planning time line for UTAS Stadium to rectangular configuration to accommodate soccer games, understanding that in order to adequately bid for World Cup games and provide facilities that will accommodate the ongoing growth of soccer, this will require a more comprehensive configuration to A League games?

(3) If the minister cannot provide a time line, could the minister please advise what work has been completed to date to prepare for the reconfiguration of UTAS Stadium?

(4) In the minister's answer provided on 16 September, it was indicated the Government 'supports any opportunities to enter the A League or W League'. Can the minister indicate whether this support actually includes proactive steps to pursue these opportunities?

(5) If the answer to the above question is yes, can the minister indicate exactly what steps have been taken to pursue this? If the answer is no, can the minister say why not?

ANSWER

Mr President, I thank the member for Launceston for her question.

(1) to (5)

I congratulate Football Federation Australia for securing the bid to jointly host the FIFA Women's World Cup with the New Zealand football team in 2023. The Tasmanian Government contributed to the joint winning bid and we are very excited at the potential to secure games and potentially, a national team training base camp. For the benefit of members, I will first clarify a couple of points in relevance to governance.

While I am the Minister for Sport and Recreation, this World Cup bid also closely involves the Minister for Events, Sarah Courtney. Second, the venue publicly associated with Tasmania's bid is UTAS Stadium or York Park, a facility owned and managed by the City of Launceston. The Women's World Cup presents an excellent opportunity for Tasmanian fans to enjoy watching world-class football players with the possibility of three group-stage matches at UTAS Stadium, otherwise known as York Park.

The Women's World Cup is a major event on the international sports calendar with the ability to attract global media presence and major broadcast audiences from around the world, bringing great economic benefits to our state. The Tasmanian Government's agreement with FIFA will provide an investment of $1 million, should we secure three group-stage matches and the option of two base camp training venues. Confirmation of final host cities and venues is expected to be announced between December 2020 and June 2021.

In answer to the member's question, I recognise there is a tight preparation time for Tasmania to secure our place in the final venues for the world cup after being shortlisted. As the member points out, the ability to convert UTAS Stadium to a rectangular configuration will help determine whether we secure world cup games.

Improvements to York Park would have potential benefits for other top-flight sports played in a rectangular field format, including A-League or W-League games, rugby and rugby league games, and also AFL football.

I am pleased to advise the member that the Government is in discussions with the Launceston City Council regarding York Park and its important role as part of the FIFA bid. I commend the council and its CEO, Michael Stretton, on their work. I hope we will have more to say about these opportunities in the coming weeks.

UTAS Stadium - Reconfiguration for Soccer

Ms ARMITAGE question to MINISTER for SPORT and RECREATION, Ms HOWLETT

[2.36 p.m.]

Mr President, I thank the minister for the answer, but is the minister able to advise the planning time line? I appreciate they are in consultation with the Launceston City Council, City of Launceston.

ANSWER

Mr President, I thank the member for Launceston for her question.

I cannot confirm a time line at this stage. FIFA will be looking at venues and inspecting them. I understand it will look at venues virtually as well, and an announcement will be made between December 2020 and June 2021.

Ms Armitage - I referred to the time line for York Park to be reconfigured, not a time line for FIFA. Do you have that time line?

Ms HOWLETT - We need to wait until we have confirmation of winning the bid.

Ms Armitage - Unfortunately, you might not win the bid if it is not reconfigured.

Ms HOWLETT - We are aware that it can be and has been configured to be a rectangular stadium in the past.

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