State's $15m Blundstone boost

Written By miftah nugraha on Rabu, 23 Januari 2013 | 19.55

THE Tasmanian Government has committed $15 million to the Blundstone Arena redevelopment.

While Tasmania continues struggle financially, Premier Lara Giddings today said the money would come from infrastructure funding already allocated in the 2014-15 Budget.

The redevelopment will increase the ground's capacity from 15,000 to about 19,500 and create more than 300 jobs in the construction phase.

Ms Giddings said the investment would help Hobart attract 2015 World Cup cricket matches and hopefully more North Melbourne AFL games.

"The State Government is supporting this project because it will create much-needed jobs for Tasmanians and improve our ability to host more elite level sport like today's one-day international and AFL matches," Ms Giddings said.

"Major sporting events provide a huge boost to local businesses and also make Tasmanian an attractive place for people to live and work.

"It has been more than a decade since the last major improvements were made to Blundstone Arena and it is important that this picturesque ground continues to evolve to accommodate the needs of modern sport and the patrons that attend."

The $30 million project received planning approval from the Clarence City Council on Monday.

The State Government's commitment matches the Federal Government's $15 million grant and will allow the redevelopment to start after North Melbourne's second home game this year in May, subject to any late appeals.

Opposition Leader Will Hodgman said the Liberals supported the project but questioned the Government's priorities.

"The premier must explain how she can afford $15 million for a new grandstand when she can't afford to properly fund essential services like health and public safety," he said.

Read more in tomorrow's Mercury.

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