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Premier defends dash to Tokyo as live sites set to count down to 2032 Olympics vote

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has again defended her weekend dash to Tokyo to make a final pitch for Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic Games bid but said the trip will not go ahead if Brisbane enters a COVID-19 lockdown.

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The premier made it clear that at this stage, she will still attend in the hopes of securing the 2032 Olympic Games for Brisbane.

Queensland recorded three new locally acquired coronavirus cases on Thursday, on the eve of the government’s plans to reduce restriction across the state.

A mask mandate will remain across 11 local government areas in the state’s southeast for another week, with restrictions easing is areas such as Townsville and Palm Island.

The premier’s trip to Tokyo hinges on testing results and whether Thursday’s cases will bring about more infections in the coming days, but Palaszczuk remains confident.

“If we were in a situation like New South Wales, I will not be going, but I am going at this stage,” the premier told reporters on Thursday.

“Let me also make it clear that I am essentially flying in, doing the requirements of quarantine in Tokyo, I am presenting in Tokyo with the Lord Mayor, and also the federal minister, then we have meetings in that same hotel.

“I am not attending any events, whatsoever. I then fly back into Brisbane and I do 14 days hotel quarantine.

“And within a week we will know whether Queensland is going to secure the 2032 Olympics, and that’s exciting for everyone in this state.”

The Premier and Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner plan to fly out to Tokyo on Sunday for a final pitch to the IOC before the committee’s vote on Wednesday evening.

The announcement will be the culmination of a six-year campaign by south-east Queensland mayors to push for the region to host an Olympics as a means of ensuring proper investment in public infrastructure.

A petition protesting Palaszczuk’s travel to Tokyo reached more than 29,000 signatures earlier this month.

The change.org petition advocated to deny the premier her formal travel in lieu of stranded Australian’s overseas still unable to return home.

Earlier in July, Ms Palaszczuk said she understood the views put forward in the petition, but called the 2032 Olympics “the biggest opportunity that Queensland’s ever seen”.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates also made it clear that it would be a “disaster if the head of Queensland did not go”.

Brisbane’s South Bank will be Olympics central from next week, with a free outdoor live site being set up for people to see a final decision on the 2032 Olympics bid next Wednesday and the action of the Tokyo Olympics from July 23.

Palaszczuk said that – pending COVID restrictions –  the live site would be open from July 21, just in time for the result of the International Olympics Committee’s vote on the host city for the 2032 Games.

She said there would be other live sites on the Gold and Sunshine Coasts and Cairns where Queenslanders can gather to watch the result and would be open every day and evening of the Tokyo Olympics.

“The IOC’s vote has the potential to be transformational for Queensland and the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” she said.

“Economic modelling proves the Olympics has the potential to drive our economic recovery for decades to come.”

 

Smaller live sites will also be set up at Ipswich, Toowoomba  and Cleveland.

The sites will be at:

-with AAP

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