Stadiums Tasmania Amendment (Transfers) Bill 2022 (No 39)
Wednesday 16 November 2022, Second reading speech
Ms ARMITAGE (Launceston) - Most things have been said. I agree with others that many people benefit from sports, and stadiums are very important.
I thank the Leader for the briefings today and it made it very clear - the exact reason behind this bill - that the Stadiums Tasmania Amendment (Transfers) Bill is an administrative bill that amends the act and adds provisions that enable the transfer of stadiums, liabilities, agreements and employees, and employment under the Fair Work Act 2009.
I note that work is currently being undertaken within the Department of State Growth regarding employees who are currently engaged and I believe that work is being undertaken with unions to negotiate with those workers for the transfer. That is important to make sure that everything goes smoothly and that workers feel safe in the positions that they have and do not have that concern that all of a sudden, as has been mentioned by others, that perhaps the stadium might be demolished and they are out of work. It is important that the unions and others are involved and it comes under Fair Work to make sure their rights are upheld.
As has been mentioned, some of the stadiums currently are funded by councils. Launceston City Council currently does manage the UTAS Stadium, formerly known are York Park. Having been a past councillor, I have always been of the opinion, as many of the councillors were, that it is unfair for a state asset to be managed and financed by a local council when it is used by the whole state. I see this as a good move to transfer to state ownership and I accept the member for Murchison saying that when people come to UTAS Stadium, they spend money in the city. When they spend money in the city, which is fabulous, they are spending it where they are staying, they are spending it on food and drink and restaurants. That is not going into the council, so the ratepayers are still -
Mrs Rattray - They pay the rates.
Ms ARMITAGE - I am not going to debate with people in this House. My husband having owned a business, when people used the services of his hotel, he was still paying the same rates whether the people came in or not. It simply made it easier for him to pay the rates when they purchased the food and drink that was provided. No extra money went into his rates, he did not pay any extra rates that went towards the provision of UTAS Stadium, or the museum or the swimming pool. Also, it would be pleasing if the state might like to take them over.
I do not see the common sense in the statement that people spending money in businesses, helps the council, because the council do not get any extra rates.
Ms Forrest - The businesses stay in business though, that is the point, and new business can develop.
Mr Valentine - It boosts the value of the city, which boosts the rates.
Ms ARMITAGE - I am supporting the transfers.
Mr Valentine - Of course you are.
Ms ARMITAGE - In actual fact, Aurora Stadium, or UTAS stadium, is in the member for Windermere's electorate.
Ms Forrest - It is his fault.
Ms ARMITAGE - However, I am defending the ratepayers of Launceston because they have been the long-suffering ratepayers who have been funding these state assets. I know many times in Estimates it has been brought up, that the museum, we would love the museum, which is also in the member for Windermere's electorate, it would be wonderful if that could be taken over. I am sure the aquatic centre, we could probably put an argument that it almost is a stadium; it is certainly a sports facility.
I support the bill before us. I am pleased to see the Silverdome and when I was on Launceston City Council, the then government tried to sell it to us for $1. Fortunately, the council saw the error in the ways of taking that on and left it to the government, which was very pleasing. We all know the cost of maintaining and every year the cost of just maintenance on UTAS Stadium was about $2.3 million.
Mr Valentine - I wonder who lobbied for that?
Ms ARMITAGE - For which?
Mr Valentine - For getting it built.
Ms ARMITAGE - Which one?
Mr Valentine - The Silverdome.
Ms ARMITAGE - I know it was not me, because I was not on the council at that time.
Ms Forrest - It was 1998.
Ms ARMITAGE - Mr President, in all fairness, they really are trying to quarrel with me.
Mr Gaffney - Launceston has received the benefits of the velodrome for many years without paying them for it.
Mrs Hiscutt - Do not bite, just keep going.
Ms ARMITAGE - We had the common sense not to take it on. It is another statewide facility. I thank the Leader for the briefing today. It made things a lot clearer, we have had the first bill and it is only natural we proceed with the second bill, which is the transfer and I will be supporting it.