Govt urged to move quick with Games plan in play

Premier Steven Miles on Brisbane Olympics stadium review

Source: ABC News

Almost three years after Brisbane was named Olympic host, the Queensland government finally has a 2032 Games infrastructure plan.

Brisbane’s Olympic supremo has warned time is of the essence, urging authorities to move quickly to finalise their next move.

The state government on Monday accepted the majority of a Brisbane Olympic infrastructure review’s 30 recommendations, ditching a controversial Gabba rebuild.

But Premier Steven Miles did not support a key finding, knocking back a recommendation to build a $3.4 billion stadium in an inner-Brisbane park as the 2032 Olympic centrepiece.

Instead Suncorp Stadium and the 49-year-old Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre will receive upgrades with a “modest enhancement” also planned for the Gabba.

With the Games only eight years away, 2032 Olympics organising committee president Andrew Liveris urged authorities to “move swiftly”.

“We acknowledge the Queensland government’s actions in accepting the majority of the panel’s recommendations and urge due diligence across venues and infrastructure to be completed quickly and in consultation with stakeholders,” he said.

“Time and cost estimates are of the essence and progress must move swiftly.

“Once decisions are finalised, we will work with the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee to refine our venue master plan and sport program, in line with our Olympic host contract commitments.”

An independent authority will be introduced mid-year to deliver the venues under their funding budget.

New stadium rejected

Miles said he could not justify a review recommendation to build a new $3.4 billion stadium at Victoria Park.

“This review was one of my very first acts as Premier of Queensland and was driven by what Queenslanders told me was important to them – bang for buck and a lasting legacy,” he said.

“No one wants to see money spent on facilities that are only needed for four weeks.”

Instead upgrades will be scheduled to ensure Suncorp Stadium can host the opening and closing ceremonies and QSAC will become the track and field venue, despite a review warning.

The review claimed QSAC would require a $1.6 billion revamp, saying it did not demonstrate value for money and was “very hard to justify”.

But Athletics Australia backed the QSAC revamp.

“QSAC is in need of redevelopment as a state-of-the-art venue,” Athletics Australia president Jane Flemming said.

“In doing this for the Games, the sport of athletics will become more accessible than ever, and the venue will provide the option to host more world class and global athletics meets in Australia.”

Liveris said it was important Brisbane Olympic venues left a lasting legacy.

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games must fit the region, not the region fit the Games, and we will use venues and infrastructure made available to us,” he said.

The state opposition has criticised the government’s decision to organise an infrastructure review with the Brisbane Games looming.

But town planning expert Professor Paul Burton, from Griffith University’s Cities Research Institute, said the review was “better late than never”.

“It would have been better if it had been commissioned the day after it was announced Brisbane was the host city rather than [more than] two years down the track,” he said.

“It might be tight but I’m sure it will be done.”

-with AAP

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