Stadiums Tasmania land transfer
On 15 December 2022, Council formed an intention to transfer York Park and associated land and assets at 2 Invermay Road, Invermay TAS 7248 to Stadiums Tasmania.
A copy of the statutory disposal notice, disposal plan with boundary notes, and extracts of the Agenda and Minutes of the 15 December 2022 Council Meeting, are provided below.
If you require any further information, please contact Duncan Campbell, Team Leader Legal Services, on 6323 3000
Setting a future direction for UTAS Stadium
Launceston's premier sports ground, York Park, is located in the suburb of Inveresk and has hosted a range of sporting, entertainment and community events for more than a century.
Known as UTAS Stadium under a commercial naming rights sponsorship agreement, the stadium has previously also been known as Aurora Stadium.
UTAS Stadium is owned, managed and operated by the City of Launceston.
It is classified in Australia as a Tier 2 Stadia, meaning it has a capacity of between 20,000 and 40,000 patrons, provides some corporate facilities and acts as a home ground for a sporting franchise in a national competition.
UTAS Stadium is a significant asset for Northern Tasmania and generates an estimated $30m in visitor spending annually in the region.
It hosts AFL and AFLW football, Big Bash League cricket, local sports groups, and entertainment events.
While the City of Launceston's investment in, and management of, the stadium has resulted in significant benefits to the Northern Tasmanian community, it is unusual in a modern context for a local Council in Australia to own and operate a venue like UTAS Stadium.
In 2021, the City of Launceston therefore developed the York Park (UTAS Stadium) Future Directions Plan, with the goal of setting the stadium on a sustainable path for the future, and one which can realise the stadium's full potential as a sporting, social, cultural and economic driver for the region.
The York Park (UTAS Stadium) Future Directions Plan identified that significant capital would be required into the future and proposed a new governance model for the venue.
In December 2022, the Council voted to initiate further discussion around the transfer of ownership of the Stadium to a new State Government entity, Stadiums Tasmania.
The Council has also sought Memorandum of Understanding with the State Government to ensure all parties share a common vision for the expansion of future content at the stadium.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
1. How does the current governance model for UTAS Stadium compare to similar venues?
Throughout Australia, Tier 2 Stadia like UTAS Stadium are generally owned by State Governments either directly, or through a Trust or Authority.
Examples include Kardinia Park, managed by the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, operated by the MCG Trust, or Perth's Optus Stadium, which is managed by the Western Australian State Government.
UTAS Stadium is a rare instance of a Tier 2 Stadia which is managed by a local council.
While the City of Launceston's management of UTAS Stadium has seen the venue grow and expand over recent decades, the venue is now at a stage where a new governance model is required to fully realise the stadium's potential.
2. Why does the governance model for UTAS Stadium need to change?
It is unusual in an Australian context for a local Council to operate a sporting facility of UTAS Stadium's calibre, with most similar stadia operated by State Governments or management trusts.
The City of Launceston invests approximately $5m per year in operational and capital costs for UTAS Stadium.
While the stadium provides economic returns for the entire region, its operation is funded solely by ratepayers in the Launceston municipality.
Additionally, the operation of a contemporary high-level sporting and entertainment venue is a specialised field, and is not a core business for local government.
Given the capital and operational investments required to manage contemporary stadia, it will be increasingly challenging for the City of Launceston to continue to fund UTAS Stadium's requirements into the future.
In short, the current governance and ownership model is not a sustainable and does not reflect the facility's role as a contemporary regional sporting facility.
3. What opportunities will a new governance model bring?
The management of major sports venues is highly specialised and distinct from the traditional roles of local councils and government departments.
Stadiums Tasmania is a statutory authority which has been established to better coordinate the management and future development of Tasmania’s major public stadium infrastructure.
The State and Federal Governments have committed more than $130m in funding for upgrades and expansion of UTAS Stadium, to be overseen by Stadiums Tasmania, in recognition of the venue's continuing importance as a sporting and entertainment venue.
Stadiums Tasmania's will bring together a range of experts with specialised skills to grow each stadium's content offering and to identify strategic development priorities.
The sole focus of Stadiums Tasmania will be on the management and expansion of the state's major sporting and entertainment venues, significantly enhancing Tasmania’s ability to attract major national and international sporting competitions, entertainment, and events.
4. How will Stadiums Tasmania share sports and entertainment content between the North and South of the State?
The legislation introduced to enable the establishment of Stadiums Tasmania as a government business enterprise requires it to manage, promote and generate future content for all facilities under its remit, including UTAS Stadium.
UTAS Stadium has proven itself as a capable host of high-level sporting competitions including AFL and Big Bash League Cricket.
A transition to a new governance model represents an opportunity to grow content at UTAS Stadium to new levels.
Additionally, given Tasmania now aims to field both men's and women's teams in the AFL and VFL, multiple grounds will be required for this purpose.
The transition of UTAS Stadium to Stadiums Tasmania is intended to significantly expand content on offer at the facility.
5. How will Stadiums Tasmania invest in infrastructure upgrades to ensure UTAS Stadium remains fit for purpose into the future?
The State and Federal Governments have committed $130m in funding towards upgrades to UTAS Stadium, overseen by Stadiums Tasmania.
In consultation with York Park user groups, it's intended that the funding will be used for improvements to stadium infrastructure, amenity, concession and concourse and oval redevelopment.
The York Park (UTAS Stadium) Future Directions Plan includes a future proposal to build a 5000-seat multi-use complex adjacent to the stadium, which includes a further three courts and a main show court, all of which will provide much-needed elite level facilities for the region.
6. How will Stadiums Tasmania leverage existing expertise and corporate knowledge from UTAS Stadium?
UTAS Stadium is commonly regarded as having one of the best playing surfaces in the country, which is a credit to the staff who currently work at the facility.
A key component of the transition plan to Stadiums Tasmania is that UTAS Stadium staff have been offered the opportunity to retain employment with Stadiums Tasmania.
This will ensure the significant experience and expertise held by UTAS Stadium staff can be leveraged by Stadiums Tasmania for the future benefit of the facility and wider community.
7. How will the new governance model impact current and future local content at UTAS Stadium?
Stadiums Tasmania has been established as a new statutory entity, following the passage of the Stadiums Tasmania Act 2022, and will aim to find an appropriate balance between national, international and local content.
The Act specifies that Stadiums Tasmania is to attract and deliver international and national sporting, entertainment and event content — but also to host statewide, regional and local sporting, entertainment and event content.
The Act also stipulates that Stadiums Tasmania should use its assets to help foster excellence in sporting codes and to facilitate Tasmania's engagement in international, national, statewide and local competitions.