Queensland Olympics would ‘rev up’ Aussie athletes: Coates

Australian Olympic Committee boss John Coates believes a southeast Queensland Games – now likely to cost taxpayers almost $4.5 billion, offset by grants, ticket sales and commercial deals – would give local athletes a much-needed “rev up”.

Feb 11, 2020, updated Feb 11, 2020
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2019. Photo: IOC.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2019. Photo: IOC.

As the Palaszczuk Government released its latest costings today, Coates was in Tokyo, where the next Games will be held, reflecting on changes in the Olympics’ operating model and how it might benefit Queensland.

The “new norm” had included a more sustainable approach to broadcasting, hospitality and transport arrangements, for example, and ensuring the Games to adapt to the host city, not the other way around. Coates said building adaptable venues in advance, so they could be used in a different format before and again after the Games, provided a more positive legacy and would suit Queensland’s needs.

He said Australian athletes improved their performances in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics in 2020, ultimately increasing their medal haul, and he believed the same would occur ahead of a 2032 Games.

“I think Australian sport needs a bit of a rev up and if you’re able to secure these events 10 or 11 years ahead they are a great incentive for kids to go out and do their best,” Coates told InQueensland. He said Prime Minister Scott Morrison had shared a similar view with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach last year.

Palaszczuk was at Foxwell State Secondary College on the Gold Coast today to explain the costings and talk up the opportunities for Queenslanders from a successful games bid.

A master plan has so far identified 43 potential venues, 18 of those outside Brisbane, with the final number dependent on some sports co-locating. Games hubs would be in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast, with most venues existing or likely to be temporary, however some events could be held further afield.

An earlier assessment of the likely cost of hosting the Games came in at $5.3 billion, however the latest Value Proposition Assessment put the gross cost at $4.45 billion. That is less than budgeted for Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project ($5.4 billion), more than for the Hells Gates Dam north of Charters Towers ($5 billion).

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However, Palaszczuk said the cost could be fully covered by various Olympic-related revenue. The event would also deliver an estimated $8.6 billion in export opportunities and $20.2 billion in international tourist expenditure, and support around 130,000 direct jobs across the state.

“Two things I have said from day one: the benefits of these games must outweigh the cost, and everyone has to share the excitement and the pride,” Palaszczuk said.

The masterplan will now be finalised, and governments negotiate the cost and agree to terms, before the government makes its formal bid. There has been speculation it will face competition from Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea and Spain.


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