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How Brisbane almost lost out to Gold Coast as centre of attention for Olympics


Brisbane almost missed out to the Gold Coast as the centre of activities for the 2032 Olympics, reveals Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner

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Thankfully, common sense has prevailed and Brisbane’s Gabba will be at the heart of the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics Games, if our proposal to the International Olympic Committee is successful.

Up until its recent  announcement, the State Government had been seriously considering holding the opening and closing ceremonies on the Gold Coast.
In my view, this would not have been the best outcome, not just for the weeks when the world’s attention will be on our region but for the legacy that the Games leave behind.

The Gabba site has been part of the fabric of Queensland’s sporting identity for the last 125 years after being set aside for cricket in 1895. The first match on that now hallowed turf was reportedly between Members of State Parliament and representatives of Queensland’s fledgling Fourth Estate.
What a game that would have been to witness!

Greyhound meets were first held there in the 1920s and a track installed decades later. However, while the ground is loved by AFL and cricket fans alike, it’s fallen down the pecking order when it comes to hosting Test matches of late because of a lack of investment by the State.

It makes sense to seize the opportunity of the Games to transform the Gabba into the state of the art stadium that it deserves to be. As the home of the Brisbane Lions, Brisbane Heat and the Queensland Bulls, as well as a venue used regularly for big international performers, a redeveloped Gabba would continue to pay dividends for our city and our entire state for many decades to come.

Having an inner-city stadium with a plethora of convenient transport options should have always been a no-brainer. Compare the Gabba, for example, to Sydney’s Olympic venue “Stadium Australia” which is a significant hike away from the city’s centre.

My administration is investing $1.2 billion building the game-changing Brisbane Metro which will add high-capacity and high-frequency services to our city’s dedicated busway network and free-up a major bottleneck at the Cultural Centre.

This project will now be critical to getting locals and visitors to and from major venues, not only for the Games but countless other major events, matches and concerts in the future.

We’re also well advanced with our plans to build a green bridge between the Brisbane CBD and Kangaroo Point. Not only would this bridge give the tens of thousands of Olympics spectators an option to walk to and from the Gabba but it could be used for events.

Just imagine television images being beamed around the world of athletes crossing our green bridge with the Brisbane CBD, the Kangaroo Point cliffs or Story Bridge in the background! Wow.

These critical linkages, along with the State’s new Cross River Rail station at Woolloongabba, make the Gabba the right choice for redevelopment, both now and into the future.

It’s now incumbent on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to start working far more cooperatively with Brisbane City Council, other mayors and the Federal Government on the Gabba and other potential proposals. Apart from a back-of-the-envelope cost calculation of $1 billion, an estimation of an additional 8000 seats and a vague video of what the Gabba would look like, the state hasn’t come up with any solid details.

Obviously, we’re glad the state eventually got onboard with the Olympics proposal first championed by my predecessor Graham Quirk through the South East Queensland Council of Mayors. And we’re pleased the state has proposed the Gabba as the site for the home of the Games.

However, the legacy that the games leave behind needs to go beyond the turnstiles of the stadium and other sporting facilities. As I have reinforced repeatedly, the Games is an opportunity to deliver critical transport and community infrastructure that supports the rapid growth of southeast Queensland into the future.

In a major coup, the Morrison Government has announced it will fund half the cost of all major infrastructure needed for the event under an agreement far more generous than what was in place during the Sydney Games.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also ensured an independent Olympic Infrastructure Agency will be set up to assess each infrastructure funding proposal, a judicious move that will ensure taxpayer’s money is spent appropriately.

I now look forward to more discussions with the State Government about transport priorities for the Games. Only through working together collaboratively will Brisbane 2032 be a success.

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