Mr Hibbins (Prahran) — My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Tourism and Major Events. The action I seek is that the minister use his powers under the Major Sporting Events Act 2009 to allocate more tickets for competing club members in next year's AFL Grand Final.
The AFL Grand Final is a declared sports ticketing event under the Major Sporting Events Act 2009. This act gives the minister the power to publish guidelines setting out requirements to provide that a specified minimum proportion of tickets to the grand final must be made available to competing club members. The minister can also modify the approved ticket scheme proposed by the AFL.
Thousands of Western Bulldogs fans missed out on seeing the Doggies win their first premiership in over 60 years because just 30 per cent of the 100 000 tickets for the grand final are allocated to competing club members.
The AFL is treating the grand final like a cash cow. The lifeblood of our footy clubs is their members, and increasing club memberships over the past decades has been keeping our footy clubs alive. At the start of the year every emphasis is placed on fans to pay up and buy club memberships to support their club, so it is particularly galling to have $1000-plus corporate grand final tickets go on sale early in the year and still be available during grand final week for those who can afford it whilst club members miss out.
The Victorian government has let down Western Bulldogs fans by refusing to step in and use its powers under the Major Sporting Events Act to increase the number of tickets available to competing club members. It will continue to let down loyal club members until it acts.
The allocation of AFL Grand Final tickets also undermines the whole purpose of the ticketing laws under the Major Sporting Events Act to prevent ticket scalping, severely limiting the number of tickets available to those who most want to go to the grand final — club members. The only legal alternative is a corporate ticket costing over $1000, which creates a fertile ground for scalpers by driving fans onto the black market for tickets. If sticking up for club members is not reason enough for the state government to act, surely a ticket scheme that encourages ticket scalping is.
The state government is committing millions on upgrading stadiums and building new stadiums; it has given us a grand final public holiday that no-one asked for. If the AFL will not allocate more tickets to competing club members for next year's grand final, the state government needs to step up and use its powers under the act to ensure that more club members — the lifeblood of our footy clubs — are able to go to the grand final.