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Tate cries foul after Gold Coast snubbed again for Games organising body

Politics

The Gold Coast, humiliatingly overlooked yet again for a seat on the 2032 Brisbane Olympics organising committee, has refused to pay up for a place on another mayoral committee that could have bought it a presence at the Olympic table.

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Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate again ruled out signing up Australia’s tourism capital and host of the 2018 Commonwealth Games to the region’s Council of mayors organisation (COMSEQ), saying the price of almost $1000-a-day for influence was too steep even if it finally earned the Gold Coast an Olympic board slot.

Tate’s move came as the call went out for what is likely to become one of the toughest and most scrutinised jobs in Australia _ the chief executive of the Brisbane Organising Committee of the Olympics and Paralympic Games.

Committee president Andrew Liveris indicated it wouldn’t be an easy task to run an organisation with a budget of $US4.5 billion and more than 1000 full-time staff at its peak as well as part timers and volunteers.

The committee has given search company Odgers Berndtson six weeks to find a candidate of impeccable credentials.

Meanwhile, Tate accused Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner of “arrogance” and “hiding behind” COMSEQ by appointing Noosa Mayor Clare Stewart to organising Committee on Friday. Noosa is a COMSEQ member.

Schrinner awarded Stewart the prized spot after former appointee, Redlands Mayor Karen Williams, stood down after she crashed her car while drink driving. Redlands is also a COMSEQ member.

“We’re a major player in multi-sport events,” Tate said of the latest snub.

“I can’t understand the idea of a direct appointment from the Lord Mayor of Brisbane for Noosa, when they have not one single sport in it.”

He said he wouldn’t be surprised if the State Government stepped in after the “joke” of Schrinner’s latest appointment.

“Sitting on the Council of Mayors and paying $350,000 annually is not value for money for ratepayers. That’s $1,000 a day, so every 20 days we could put up two new shade sails at our children’s playgrounds … or pay to be on a committee,” he said.

“As mayor, I remain open to be offered a board position on the SEQ Olympics Board as we have operational experience when it comes to delivering the 2018 games. But I’m not going to pay $350,000 year-after-year for the privilege.”

The festering dispute between Tate and Schrinner has overshadowed much of the early planning of the 2032 south-east Queensland Olympic Games.

However, even though the Games are still 10 years away, the snub is significant, putting at risk one of the key planks of the winning bid – the strength and partnership of the regional south-east Queensland alliance.

Tate has previously said south-east Queensland would not even have been in a position to launch an Olympic bid without the success of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

He has also accused Schrinner of systematically dumping reference to the regions to morph into ‘Brisbane 2032’ or ‘B32’.

“It’s a long journey, there’s 10 years to go, you’ll see a lot of chop and change on the Board,” Tate said.

“But one thing that won’t be changed is the commitment by the city of Gold Coast to be part of the team and to deliver our part as best we can for the Olympics.

“My prediction: it won’t surprise me that there’ll be more sports wanting to play and display their wares on the Gold Coast.”

Apart from the usual skills needed by a chief executive the BOCOG brief on the appointment said the person would have to be “someone with confidence, credibility and gravitas, who would gain immediate respect with the internal team and external stakeholder groups”.

There was no mention of salary, but the requirement indicated the committee was pitching the job at the big end of town, but it was clearly not a role for the faint-hearted.

Liveris said the games needed a team of the best and brightest and most inspired minds to come together.

“There is no question _ the challenge is significant, but the opportunity outshines it,” Liveris said.

“I’m looking for the person that knows how to ensure Brisbane 2032 showcases our region and nation to the world.”

There was a long list of requirements to meet and the chief executive was also likely to be among the most scrutinised roles in the country over the next decade.

There was also a long list of bosses to report to including the Liveris and the 22-member board, which includes the Premier who is on a panel of five vice presidents that also includes the Lord Mayor and the Prime Minister’s nominee.

“The ideal candidate will have a strong track record in leading multifaceted organisations of scale from start-up to successful delivery,” the brief said.

Included in the list of requirements was significant executive experience, outstanding financial and commercial acumen, capability to develop business plans and budgets with clear targets, the ability to be a persuasive and compelling communicator who was capable of driving consensus.

“Candidates with a deep understanding of Australia, its people, places, and cultures will be well regarded,” the brief said.

Applications would close on August 19.

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