Queensland getting on with 2032 Olympics preparations

Steven Miles on Gabba rebuild review

Source: ABC News

The head of Brisbane 2032 says Queensland is getting on with Olympic preparations after the state government was forced to deny it sought advice on cancelling the Games.

Andrew Liveris’ show of faith came after the Labor government on Monday ignored a key recommendation of a Games infrastructure review to build a new $3.4 billion stadium at inner-city Victoria Park.

Premier Steven Miles has instead opted to upgrade Suncorp Stadium for the opening and closing ceremonies and the 49-year-old Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre for track and field events.

The review said a QSAC revamp would cost $1.6 billion but it was “very hard to justify” and did not demonstrate value for money.

Liveris said the organising committee would focus on keeping to the timeline and budget ahead of the event, which kicks off on July 23, 2032.

“What we’ve got to do is get on with the cost analysis, the due diligence, the timeline and then fulfil our commitments against delivering the best and biggest event on earth in our part of the world,” he told Nine’s Today program on Wednesday.

The commitment came after the state government denied a Nine News report on Tuesday that it had considered cancelling the Games due to venue costs and suggestions public support was waning.

Miles’ office said the government had never sought advice about cancelling the global event.

“We’ve always said Queensland would deliver a great Games,” a spokesperson said on Wednesday.

“Not once did the government ever have the intention to cancel the Games.”

The state government accepted the majority of the 60-day infrastructure review’s 30 recommendations.

However, it ignored key findings including a warning not to hold track and field events at QSAC, a 1982 Commonwealth Games venue.

The review – led by former lord mayor Graham Quirk – said transport and access to QSAC, a 20-minute drive from Brisbane’s CBD, during the Games would be “extremely challenging and costly to facilitate”.

It believed building a $3.4 billion Victoria Park stadium in Brisbane’s CBD as the 2032 centrepiece would be a better legacy project.

But Liveris wasn’t concerned by criticism of infrastructure backed by the state government, saying what was being proposed would provide a legacy for southeast Queensland beyond 2032.

“We were committed to 85 per cent of the venues either being in place or temporary – that’s the new norm of the Olympics and we are indeed the smallest place to ever put these Games on,” he said.

An upgraded 40,000-seat QSAC would reportedly be the smallest Olympic track and field stadium since the 1928 Amsterdam Games.

“Delivering the track and field events with a capacity of 40,000 spectators would be by far the lowest capacity for any Games held in recent history and would potentially leave little opportunity for the general public to attend major finals,” the review said.

Built in 1975, QSAC is “poorly served by public transport” and 20 kilometres from the Olympic athletes’ village.

“Travel time [for athletes] would be significant without road closures and police support,” the review said.

It also noted QSAC was an elite track and field training centre and a revamp would be a significant disruption for athletes ahead of the Olympics.


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