We can read between the lines, Lara

MARTIN Gilmour says: There were plenty of suspicious glances when Premier Lara Giddings announced her pre- Christmas, $24-million jobs package, which contained several sweeteners for Northern Tasmania.

Spending $1 million on a sixth light tower for Aurora Stadium was a nice thought, but hardly top of the wish-list.

Extending the Seaport boardwalk by 18 metres was another nice thought, but probably well down the wish-list.

Of course, by the time we get into state election mode they will be visible examples of a government spending money and trying to invigorate the economy.

It was interesting to note this week that the deadline for extra funding for Bellerive's Blundstone Arena is looming.

The proposed $30 million expansion, to take the capacity from 15,000 to 20,000, already has $15million of pre-election funding from the federal government.

The state government's stated position is that it can't commit further funds to the project until its own financial position improves.

Cricket Tasmania wants to call tenders in February but, as its chairman Tony Harrison stated this week: "You can't call for tenders until you've got the money."

The state government is already implicated in twisting the arm of TT- Line to spend $500,000 a year from its marketing budget to prop up the North Melbourne deal.

That sponsorship was described as a "phenomenal success" without any figures to support such a claim.

The pressure will now be extreme on Ms Giddings, as Premier and Treasurer and a resident of nearby Lindisfarne, to conjure up a financial miracle for Bellerive.

The 2015 World Cup has been used as the main reason for the upgrade, but it is really about building AFL Tasmania a new headquarters and that the AFL wants to get North Melbourne out of Melbourne, but doesn't want to commit its own money.

- MARTIN GILMOUR, editor.

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