Published: 10 July 2023

Regardless of what may think about the Macquarie Point stadium and a state sponsored AFL side the process involved has been woeful.

A big project will bring big benefits. Anyone questioning that holy mantra is condemning the State to an impoverished future. That's what I hear all the time.

The lack of respect for alternative views is a distressing trend in today's world.

Hobart is a unique and beautiful city of which we should be immensely proud. Some wish to retain its uniqueness. Others think it should mimic other cities, as if there's a check list of desirable attributes which all cities should strive to build.

Big projects are proposed to fix things. Along the way we lose sight of the problems we are trying to fix and public discussion degenerates into an unsavoury stoush where respect for other points of view is the first casualty.

There's no coordinated plan for the stadium and the new AFL side. The Department of Treasury wasn't consulted. Nor were Liberal Party backbenchers. Cabinet, at best, only got a verbal briefing the day before the agreement was signed.

The Treasurer all but admitted to the Public Accounts Parliamentary Committee that the $240 million federal assistance grant for Macquarie Point would be clawed back via the state's future GST share, belatedly writing to the Federal Treasurer requesting the grant be exempted from GST calculations, knowing full well the likely answer. He just needed someone else to blame.

Securing federal funding was supposed to be the clincher and stadium supporters berated non-believers for looking a gift horse in the mouth. Unfortunately, it's not a gift horse. It's a ring-in.

Marinus is the other large project touted to solve our problems. Why we need a $3.8 billion cable connected to the mainland when government is the monopoly owner of all generation transmission and distribution has never been adequately explained.

That Marinus will provide for electricity from storage and pumped hydro at Tarraleah and Cethana is fast becoming a distant dream as the latest market tender for electricity storage in NSW saw batteries offering a better deal than pumped hydro.

By all means let's talk about big projects. But let's not automatically assume

because it's big, it's best. And let's not forget the problems we are trying to solve.

And for goodness sake, let's keep the discussion civil.

The Advocate, Monday 10 July 2023

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