As Tasmania Fast Tracks $715M Stadium, What Comes Next?

According to Professor Greg Nolan timber, concrete and steel must be in the mix as buildings look to 'low carbon budgets'

Wed 15 Nov 23


The Tasmanian Government has fast-tracked the $715-million Macquarie Point Multipurpose Stadium, billed as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for the State.

Wood Central understands that the State Liberal Government approved an order to progress the 23,000-seat stadium as a “Project of State Significance” amid political uncertainty over the project’s future.

“Projects of State Significance” are conducted by the Tasmanian Planning Commission instead of an independent panel, with its decisions not subject to appeal except under judicial review.

As the Urban Developer reports, the Government is supposed to liaise with the Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies before recommending approval and any conditions. 

However, according to a media release from the State Government, the Macquarie Point community consultation will be “at arm’s length” from the Government.

Considered a “game-changing” for the State, it is the “centrepiece” of rejuvenating a significant precinct in the centre of Hobart. 

It has the financial support of the State Government ($340m), the Australian Government ($240m), and the AFL ($15m) with the baulk of the monies raised through borrowings against land sale or lease for commercial uses. 

Last month, the State released a draft plan for the $2.3-billion redevelopment of Hobart’s Macquarie Point, revealing social and affordable housing space for a private hospital. 

Premier and State Development Minister Jeremy Rockliff said the draft plan aims to make Mac Point an “integrated, vibrant and exciting region” for all Tasmanians.

“The Precinct will be a place to share and celebrate our history, enjoy the foreshore, conduct business, and bring together visitors and the community alike,” the Premier said.

“The draft Plan includes a multipurpose stadium, Antarctic facilities, residential development, an Aboriginal culturally informed zone and a mixed-use zone.”

In recent months, pressure has been mounting to construct the new stadium using timber.

The project is now fully funded after the Australian Government, Tasmanian State Government and AFL committed funds to support a new stadium at Macquarie Point.

Wood Central understands that the new stadium could be built from timber, but with caveats.

“You can build a timber-rich stadium, which means you use timber where it is best suited,” according to Professor Greg Nolan, an expert in timber design from the University of Tasmania.

Professor Nolan spoke to ABC Radio Hobart Mornings host Leon Compton, who asked, “Could the new stadium be built fully out of timber?”

“What has evolved is for the lower floors to have concrete structures, and then you spring up wood from above.”

He said the push to timber could come from the state government-appointed project team’s commitment to “low carbon budgets,” which puts professionals responsible for “looking at ways they can bring down carbon in buildings.”

“Timber is the only major building material we’ve got that has carbon sequestration, and therefore, if you want to reduce your carbon budget, you need to use timber in your carbon budget,” Professor Nolan said.

The 100m domed roof, which was constructed inside the Sydney Exhibition Building in preparation for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, provides an example of what is possible, according to Professor Nolan.

“Unless we make our buildings out of low-carbon materials, we will not meet low-carbon targets.”

“You can take two different approaches. Inside, you can use almost all species if kept dry, but outside, it is much more exposed to the elements, and you accept that you will replace it every 15, 20 or 30 years to remain in good working order.”

The next step for the stadium will be the development of guidelines for the assessment by the Tasmanian Planning Commission during the coming four months.


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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