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Political stoush over GST requests for Hobart stadium

Tasmania's premier says he didn't mislead parliament when being grilled about possible GST exemptions for a contentious new Hobart stadium.

Tasmania's premier has been accused of misleading parliament about a request for funding for a divisive new stadium to be exempt from GST calculations.


The proposed $715 million stadium at Hobart's waterfront was a condition of the AFL granting the state a licence for a team which is slated to take the field in 2028.


In late April, the federal government committed $240m to the project and broader urban renewal at the site.


During question time on May 9, Opposition Leader Rebecca White asked Premier Jeremy Rockliff whether he had secured an exemption for the federal funding from GST calculations.


"Your response was and I quote, 'we have requested that the Macquarie Point funding be quarantined for the purposes of determining GST allocations'," she told parliament on Wednesday.


"When you gave that answer, had the formal request been sent? Or did you mislead parliament?"


Treasurer Michael Ferguson told parliament a letter containing the request was sent to the federal government on the afternoon of May 9.


Mr Rockliff rejected the assertion he misled parliament.


"I'd had discussions with the prime minister regarding GST exemption and our treasurer has as well, when it comes to his counterpart (federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers)," he said.

"The formal request has been made, backing up our discussions. The letter itself said, 'further to our discussions'."


GST is the largest single source of revenue for Tasmania and is expected to make up almost 42 per cent of overall revenue in 2023/24.


The state Liberal government was plunged into minority on May 12 when two backbenchers quit the party citing concerns over transparency around the stadium plan.

Thousands turned out to an anti-stadium protest in Hobart this month.


The Labor opposition opposes the stadium but supports Tasmania getting its own AFL team. The AFL has said a team cannot exist without the new stadium.


The stadium will be considered a project of state significance, meaning it will need to pass both houses of parliament before it is assessed by the planning commission.


Mr Rockliff has indicated he wants parliament to get a second "final say" vote on the project once it is assessed by the planning commission.


Upper house independent Meg Webb on Wednesday committed to introducing a legislative amendment to ensure there was a second vote.


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