‘Value for money’ new norm for Brisbane’s Olympics push

The Gabba is one suggestion for the opening and closing ceremonies.

With Brisbane the odds-on favourite to secure the 2032 Olympic Games, talk has turned to venues.

One of the key factors in putting Brisbane ahead of its rivals in the eyes of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is the fact it has so much of the necessary infrastructure already in place helped in no small part by the Gold Coast’s successful hosting of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“The Olympic committee are looking for existing structures,” said Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

“It’s a new norm, which means it’s a game changer, we don’t have to build new stadiums that are not going to be used in the future.

“It’s got to be practical and it’s got to be part of the legacy, and what the Olympic Committee wants to do is they want us to look at what do we already have.

“So we’ve got to look at value for money and we’ve got to look at where we need to supplement what we already have.”

Of the 31 venues, 19 are existing, but five of them will need permanent works, while five will be temporary and seven will be new sites. Brisbane will be home to 21 of the venues, with six on the Gold Coast and three on the Sunshine Coast.

The Whitsundays are being considered as the host venue for sailing, while preliminary football matches could potentially be held in stadiums as far away as Toowoomba, Townsville, Cairns, Sydney and Melbourne.

The IOC has also recommended using the existing Sydney International Regatta Centre and Penrith Whitewater Stadium as venues for rowing or canoeing.

There are several options for the opening and closing ceremonies, including a new Brisbane Olympic Stadium that could seat up to 50,000 people at the Albion Park Raceway in Brisbane’s inner north.

The IOC has recommended considering the existing Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast (which was used for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games opening and closing ceremonies) for athletics events and using the Gabba in Brisbane for ceremonies.

A new 15,000 capacity indoor arena at Brisbane’s Roma Street Parklands is being considered to host the swimming events. But the existing outdoor Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, which was again used during the 2018 Commonwealth Games, is also a contender.

“We will be looking at all of those in detail now, but there is the option of one new big venue … but we may use Carrara as well,” Palaszczuk said.

“But let’s have those discussions, we’ve not got to go down to the fine print.”

A new build athletes’ village catering up to 14,000 is proposed for Brisbane, with the Gold Coast contributing 2,000 beds with existing hotels in Surfers Paradise, in addition to a day village on the Sunshine Coast.

The Games budget has been set at $4.45 billion with projected revenues from broadcast rights, sponsorship and ticket sales expected to make it a cost neutral event.

It is forecast a Brisbane Games would provide $7.4 billion in economic benefits and create 130,000 direct jobs.

“The IOC on a budget of $4.5 billion, the IOC is putting in $2.5 billion … then you get approximately $1 billion from national sponsorship and $1 billion from the ticketing,” said Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates.

“That’s enough then to pay for both the Olympics and Paralympic Games without any call on the state, or federal or local governments.”

A final decision is expected to be made as early as July, ahead of Tokyo 2021.