White elephant or golden goose; Qld Olympics cost in focus

The question of what a Queensland Olympics would cost taxpayers has come into focus after One Nation leader Pauline Hanson said the state can’t afford to host the 2032 Olympics.

Despite describing the Olympics as a “wonderful celebration of athletic and sporting prowess”, Hanson said the money would be better spent on other areas of the economy.

“Australia’s economy is still sluggish and the economy of Queensland is at its worst position in history so it is irresponsible to commit unknown funds, but probably in the billions, to a project like this at this time,” she said.

“The decision to chase the Olympics, despite having no firm idea about the costs, while there are many other worthwhile needs in this nation, could be regarded as irresponsible and misdirected leadership.

“The 2032 Olympics is not a nation-building project, whereas funding a project like a hybrid Bradfield Scheme or other water infrastructure, will provide benefits to Australia for hundreds of years to come.”

Pauline Hanson is not convinced of Queensland’s bid to host the 2032 Olympics.

But Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates said running a Queensland Games will be cost neutral, or even produce a surplus, with $3.4 billion to come from broadcast agreements and a minimum $2.7 billion from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to help stage the event.

Speaking to The Courier Mail, Coates said that changes “have made Games much cheaper to run”.

“When you add revenue from national sponsors and ticket sales, the operating costs of the Games themselves will not require any contribution from taxpayers or ratepayers,” he said.

“These games-changing benefits weren’t available to previous Olympic hosts. The IOC wants hosts to use existing venues as much as possible, reduce venue sizes and ensure the Games fit in with Queensland, not the other way around.”

Coates said that the state already has 85 per cent of the venues in place or planned.

Hanson said she will meet with the AOC later this month to discuss the matter.