Wednesday 3 September 2008
Mr FINCH (Question) - I was encouraged by the honourable Treasurer talking about art and I thought I might be able to ask a question about football.  I am drawing a long bow here, I know, but I noticed a couple of days ago, Treasurer, you talked about the statewide league and you were suggesting that the pathway that the Mariners program offered to young Tasmanians might not be available in the future.  Do you have an impression or are feeling or a sense that the Mariners program might be discontinued with the statewide league?
Mr AIRD - I thank the honourable member for his question.  I said a lot of things about football on the weekend.  What I said is that as a former president of the New Norfolk Football Club it was a very painful experience being involved in the statewide league.  I also said that I had not seen the business case put forward by AFL Tasmania but it would have to be a very robust business case to sustain what I understand is being proposed.  I notice, though, that there are others now being convinced by the business case and they will make decisions that they believe are in their local interest.  I detect that the honourable member for Bass, Mr Gutwein, feels as though there may be some votes in it for the Liberal Party because he came out castigating me for not having looked at the business case of the SFL.  How naughty am I, not to take the time out to look at the statewide business case of AFL Tasmania before I comment on it. 
Mr Harriss - It wouldn't take you long.  You could knock it over in five minutes.
Members laughing.
Mr AIRD - I would take advice from the honourable member for Huon about the future prospects of football in this State.  Seriously, football has been in a state of uncertainty in this State for the past 10 or 15 years.  There has never been any involvement - and I notice one part of the business case is to seek government support; part of their key strategy is to get government support - so I will be looking at that with a great deal of interest.  The issue here is that football and the governance of football in Tasmania has not allowed us to have a stable environment to develop football in Tasmania and provide a pathway for young people.  That was my point.  I said that the best part of the former organisation of football was the Mariners program.  If we had a fully fledged Mariners program, I think that provides a better pathway for footballers in Tasmania than statewide league -
Mr Martin - Hear, hear.
Mr AIRD - and I hear there is some support about, which I am very heartened to hear.  But the fact is we have had stop-start, too many changes, too many uncertainties and we have lost very good people out of Tasmania who are great coaches, terrific administrators.  You can go around Australia, not just in Victoria but into other States as well, where we have lost a great deal of skill out of administration and coaching of football in Tasmania.  We need to try to get these people back.  I think this adhocery -
Ms Forrest - Adhocery.  Is it a word?
Mr AIRD - Adhocery, yes.
Members interjecting.
Mr AIRD - I do not know what is going on on the north-west coast, but if you have some ad hoc -
Ms Forrest - ery.
Mr AIRD - If you engage in ad hoc decision making, you get adhocery.
Members laughing.
Ms Forrest - On the north-west coast, or is that in this House as well?
Mr AIRD - Having said that, Madam President, I think it is a serious issue for the future of football in Tasmania.  We can see what is happening in the country leagues, we can see what is happening in the regional leagues, and we need to provide a pathway that is going to be supported by local communities to see the way forward for young people to enjoy football, to enjoy the environment and the culture of football.  Not all of it is positive but nonetheless it is, I think, a healthy attribute of local communities.  We need to provide a pathway for those who wish to excel.  We need to do that and do it properly, and I am not satisfied that what has been put forward is going to satisfy any of that.