Western Australia’s Sports Minister has downplayed tensions with Australian Football League clubs over the move to the new Perth Stadium, saying she is expecting a quick resolution.
Minister Mia Davies also rejected suggestions the West Coast Eagles could opt to remain at Subiaco Oval even when the new 60,000 seat Burswood venue is completed, amid threats from the Eagles to stay put.
In a newspaper interview, Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett warned negotiations were closing in on the “point of no return” where the Eagles would have to stay at Subiaco beyond 2018.
The new stadium is set to be completed by late 2017 and is slated to begin hosting AFL games from 2018.
Ms Davies said she was still in no doubt the Eagles and Dockers would be playing at Perth Stadium from 2018, denying that it was a bad sign tensions were being publicly aired.
“They’re robust negotiations, we’re talking about something that is a significant change and you would expect that,” she said.
“But I don’t see a future without the Eagles or Dockers playing at the new stadium and I’m sure their fans are looking forward to it.
“I’m very confident we will have a positive resolution in the not too distant future.”
But Labor said it was concerning agreements with the Eagles and Dockers still had not been finalised, arguing the Government had mishandled negotiations.
“We should be worried because ultimately this is a very expensive stadium and someone is going to pay,” Labor’s infrastructure spokeswoman Rita Saffioti said.
“It would have been the smart thing to do to have these negotiations complete by now, and the fact they haven’t done so makes us all worried about the first season.”
The stadium is expected to cost $1.6 billion, including around $350 million in associated transport infrastructure costs.