UTS Library

Bellerive Oval Development Proposal

Client: 

Tasmanian Cricket Association

PR Company: 

Corporate Communications Tas Pty Ltd

Award Category: 

Award Type: 

Call Number: 

1999 G 1

Year: 

1999

Executive Summary: 

The Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) supports the need for a single first-class stadium in Tasmania with a capacity to cater for national and international cricket matches and other major sports and activities. However, the Association became concerned at moves to develop an AFL football stadium sited on the Elwick Showgrounds. <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

While the Elwick project gained strong support from the then State Government, local businesses and the trade union movement, the TCA was of the view that the cost of the development and the difficulties being encountered in catering for the interests and rights of existing users rendered the stadium proposal for Elwick Showgrounds impractical.

At the same time, the TCA was aware of the need to improve its existing facility at Bellerive Oval if it was to continue to cater for international cricket and also attract other top level sporting events.

The TCA proposed the development of the Bellerive Oval to provide the required first-class stadium for Tasmania and sought $5 million in Commonwealth funding as a key to undertaking a planned $14 million development.

A successful Government communication program involved the development of a presentation document outlining the TCA's plans for the redevelopment of the Bellerive Oval and its distribution to key target audience group members. Direct contact was made with advisers to the Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Family Services (Tasmanian, Warwick Smith MHA, a former Minister for Sport) and an active lobbying program was maintained through the period leading up to the Federal election campaign. Personal contact was made with the Prime Minister and Federal Minister to present the proposal directly to Mr Howard and Mr Warwick Smith.

The Federal Government was encouraged to promise a  $5 million grant for Bellerive Oval as a centrepiece of the Coalition's reelection commitment to Tasmania.

Campaigning in Tasmania, the Prime Minister Mr Howard, announced a commitment of a $5 million grant to the TCA to assist the redevelopment of the Bellerive Oval. On the reelection of the Coalition Government, Mr Howard confirmed his commitment and the $5 million cheque was handed over by the new Federal Sports Minister Hon Jackie Kelly on 28 May 1999.

Support has also been promised by the Tasmanian Government and the Clarence City Council. This promise of additional funding from the State Government and the allocation by the Clarence City Council have encouraged the TCA to commit its own funds to ensure the redevelopment of the Bellerive Oval to provide Tasmania with a truly world-class sporting facility.

The TCA has now commissioned architects to draw the final plans for the project as a prelude to seeking development approval with a view to commencing construction of the new facility in the first quarter of next year, at the conclusion of the international cricket season.

The success in gaining the Commonwealth funding - the key to securing the development - was a direct result of the implementation of the Government communication and relations strategy developed by Corporate Communications for the TCA.

Situation Analysis: 

The Tasmanian Cricket Association (TCA) is the administrator of the sport of cricket in Tasmania, with responsibilities encompassing national and international cricket through to the development of the sport at the primary level.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

The Association became concerned at moves to develop an AFL football stadium sited on the Elwick Showgrounds. During the promotion of the Elwick proposal the emphasis was changed from AFL football to multi-purpose and the promoters included international cricket in the sports proposed to be played at the proposed new facility. While the Elwick project gained strong support from the State Government, local businesses and the trade union movement, the TCA was of the view that the cost of the development and the difficulties being encountered in catering for the interests and rights of existing users rendered the stadium proposal for Elwick Showgrounds impractical.

 

At the same time, the TCA was aware of the need to improve its existing facility at Bellerive Oval if it was to continue to cater for international cricket and also attract other top level sporting events.

 

The TCA supported the need for a single first-class stadium in Tasmania with a capacity to cater for national and international cricket matches and other major sports and activities.

 

The Bellerive Oval already has a first-class playing arena and some of the infrastructure necessary to cater for the requirements of national and international sport. The TCA proposed the development of the Bellerive Oval to provide the required first-class stadium for Tasmania. The Associations proposal provided a sporting complex with undercover seating for 15,000 people, improved player facilities and other amenities. This would transform the Oval into a world-class venue with a total crowd capacity of approximately 22,000 people.

 

The TCA sought the support of Federal, State and Local Governments and the Tasmanian community. Given that support, the Association would provide additional financial resources to fund the development.

 

The proposal was particularly dependent on gaining financial support from the Commonwealth Government, given the understanding that it would only support one major stadium development in the south of the State. The State Government was supporting Commonwealth funding for the AFL Stadium project through the Centenary of Federation program, However the TCA was aware of Federal Government concerns over that project's construction budget.

 

As the TCA's public relations consultancy, Corporate Communications was asked to develop a strategy to gain the necessary support for the proposed Bellerive development.

Research: 

The research was aimed at determining the level of support for the AFL Stadium proposal within the Commonwealth Government and the likelihood of support for the TCA's proposed Bellerive development.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

This was gained through one-on-one discussions with advisers to the Prime Minister, Hon John Howard, and the then Minister for Family Services and former Federal Minister for Sport Hon Warwick Smith, a review of media coverage of the AFL Stadium proposal and documents prepared by the AFL Stadium bid team, as well as discussions with Tasmanian Government officials, the then Opposition Leader and local business representatives.

Target Policies: 

Key target publics were identified as:<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

  • The Commonwealth Government
  • The Tasmanian Government and the Clarence City Council
  • The local community

Communication Strategy: 

The strategy involved the development of a presentation document outlining the TCA's plans for the redevelopment of the Bellerive Oval and its distribution to key target audience group members.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

Direct contact would be made with advisers to the Prime Minister and Federal Minister for Family Services (Tasmanian Warwick Smith MHA, a former Minister for Sport) and active lobbying would be maintained through the period leading up to the Federal election campaign. At the same time, the TCA Chairman's personal contacts with the Prime Minister would be used to present the proposal directly to Mr Howard.

 

It was agreed that details of the TCA's proposal would remain confidential until the outcome of the AFL Stadium's bid for  Centenary funding was determined. It was also agreed that the TCA would not make any public criticism of the football stadium proposal.

 

When funding for the AFL Stadium proposal was rejected, the TCA first held a public meeting with local residents to outline its development plans, prior to releasing the detail at a media conference. It was determined to seek a Commonwealth funding commitment in the context of the Federal election campaign.

 

As the then Minister for Family Services, Hon Warwick Smith, was campaigning to retain his northern Tasmanian seat of Bass, it was determined to develop an alliance with plans to improve the York Park Oval in Launceston in order to strengthen the TCA's bid. This was achieved through the establishment of a mutual support program with the North Launceston Football Club and communicating this to the Minister's office.

 

Frequent meetings were held with the Clarence City Council to keep aldermen and officers appraised of the TCA's plans and progress regarding the redevelopment.

Implementation: 

The redevelopment proposal document was prepared and distributed to all members of the Federal Cabinet, Tasmanian Federal Members, the Leader of the Federal Opposition, the Tasmanian Premier, State Opposition Leader and the Mayor of Clarence.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

Meetings were conducted with the Premier and Opposition Leader and the Mayor of the City of Clarence.

 

Contact was made and maintained with the senior advisers to the Prime Minister and the Federal Minister for Family Services. Arrangements were made for the TCA Chairman to meet the Prime Minister and Federal Minister to seek their support for the project. In discussion with the advisers and political leaders it was suggested that $5 million grants for Bellerive Oval and York Park should be the centrepiece of the Government's reelection commitment to Tasmania.

 

Over a three-month period, regular contact was maintained with the senior Commonwealth advisers to discuss progress and emphasise the importance of support for the project. The Minister for Family Services was encouraged to recommended to the Prime Minister that the Federal Government provide financial support for the Bellerive Oval project.

 

A meeting was arranged with local residents and the project details were announced to the Tasmanian media at a news conference at the Bellerive Oval. A joint publicity event was arranged at York Park in Launceston and specific supportive material supplied to the Launceston Examiner newspaper.

 

The project was publicised in the TCA's quarterly publication Coverpoint and outlined to members at the Association's annual general meeting.

 

Discussion were also held with other tenants of the Oval - the Clarence Cricket Club and the Clarence District Football Club - to gain their support.

Results: 

The initial breakthrough was achieved on 5 August 1998, when Hon Warwick Smith recommended to the Prime Minister that the Federal Government commit $5 million funding to the proposed Bellerive and York Park developments.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

Election campaigning in Tasmania, the Prime Minister Mr Howard, announced a commitment of a $5 million grant to the TCA to assist the redevelopment of the Bellerive Oval. On the reelection of the Coalition Government, Mr Howard confirmed his commitment and the $5 million cheque was handed over to the TCA by the new Federal Sports Minister Hon Jackie Kelly on 28 May 1999.

 

Residents attending the initial public meeting expressed support for the development.

 

The Mayor of Clarence, Alderman Cathy Edwards, has expressed support for the project and the Council has included development funds in its current budget with the promise of additional funding next financial year.

 

The Tasmanian Labor Premier Hon Jim Bacon has expressed his support. The Tasmanian Government is providing the TCA with $2 million funding over four years under the separate Tasmanian Icons Program and has invited a TCA submission for funding for the Oval development.

 

The TCA has now commissioned architects to draw the final plans for the project as a prelude to seeking development approval with a view to commencing construction of the new facility in the first quarter of next year, at the conclusion of the international cricket season.

Evaluation: 

The program clearly met its objectives.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

The success of the Government Communication effort is emphasised by the receipt of the $5 million Commonwealth Grant.

 

The State Government's Icon Program funding of $2 million, while not directly associated with the project, demonstrates strong support for the TCA. The promise of additional funding from the State Government and the allocation by the Clarence City Council have encouraged the TCA to commit its own funds to ensure the redevelopment of the Bellerive Oval to provide Tasmania with a truly world-class sporting facility.

 

The success in gaining the Commonwealth funding - the key to securing the development - was a direct result of the implementation of the Government communication and relations strategy developed for the TCA.

 

The project will provide a sporting complex with undercover seating for 15,000 people, improved player facilities and other amenities. It will transform the Oval into a world-class venue with a total crowd capacity of approximately 22,000 people. With the  support of Federal, State and Local Governments and the Tasmanian community, the Association is now moving to develop and manage a venue of which all Tasmanians can be proud for many years to come.