Gutwein’s departure wont change AFLs plans

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The AFL taskforce chair Brett Godfrey said the loss of Peter Gutwien will have no impact on the August decision date on whether the state will have its own AFL team.

Mr Godfrey said “The working group between the Taskforce and the AFL, we think we’ve addressed way more issues than have ever been levelled even post the Carter report.

“We think we are a long way down the track and subject to the leader of the day to pursue the same course of action as his or her Liberal colleague, the train has left the station.”

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from the mercury 5.4.22

THE shock loss of the Tasmanian AFL campaign’s greatest advocate will have no impact on the August decision date as the state edges closer to finally getting a verdict once and for all.

Outgoing Premier Peter Gutwein took the fight right up to the AFL, but Taskforce chair Brett Godfrey said the campaign had moved past fighting against the league to co-operating with it via the working group made up of league and Taskforce heavyweights, including Godfrey.

“No, it shouldn’t (affect the August timeline),: Godfrey told the Mercury.

“The working group between the Taskforce and the AFL, we think we’ve addressed way more issues than have ever been levelled even post the Carter report.

“We think we are a long way down the track and subject to the leader of the day to pursue the same course of action as his or her Liberal colleague, the train has left the station.

“From that point of view it would take someone to stop it now I think.”

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein, former Geelong President Colin Carter and Chair of AFL Taskforce Brett Godfrey at UTAS Stadium, Launceston. Picture: Chris Kidd

Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein, former Geelong President Colin Carter and Chair of AFL Taskforce Brett Godfrey at UTAS Stadium, Launceston. Picture: Chris Kidd

He said there was no doubt Mr Gutwin had been a visible, vocal advocate, but the state’s campaign was much more than one person – even as powerful as the Premier.

“As good as he’s been, we’ve been pretty clear this is a 30-year journey and there have been lots of premiers, lots of Taskforces and lots of people and willingness, so I don’t think the loss of one tremendous advocate and supporter is going to mean the end of the run,” he said.

“It just means we are going to have to regroup and reassess.”

The Taskforce has received support via all three major political parties since its announcement in 2019 and Godfrey believed the change of Premier should not cause too many waves to a campaign that has the state on the brink of landing the 19th licence.

“If you’re a premier with an economic slant the return is 10:1 – for every dollar we spend we get $10 back,” Godfrey said.

“I’d be surprised if there was a change in tack which is why we think the process is well down the path and will continue but we just have to wait to re-engage.”

Gutwein’s sporting legacy is not limited to football, with the former treasurer and Premier instrumental in landing Tasmania the 10th NBL licence and the creation of the JackJumpers.

JackJumpers and NBL owner Larry Kestleman said the newest franchise would not exist without Gutwein’s “vision, support and passion.”

“Peter’s determination in helping make the JackJumpers a reality, and to transform the Derwent Entertainment Centre, was inspirational,” Kestleman said.

“He always had the Tasmanian people front of mind and he has delivered a professional sporting team and world class entertainment precinct to them – something the entire state should be tremendously proud of.”

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