It’s ours! Get ready, Brisbane, the world will be watching you for the next 11 years

Brisbane has been confirmed as host of the Games of the XXXVth Olympiad after the International Olympics Committee enthusiastically endorsed the city’s 2032 Olympics bid.

Jul 21, 2021, updated Jul 22, 2021

The vote was the culmination of a journey that began in 2015 when the south-east Queensland Council of Mayors first proposed bringing the Olympics and Paralympics to Brisbane.

Green and gold fireworks erupted from the banks of the Brisbane River after the announcement, with celebrating crowds thronging South Bank and other live sites around south-east Queensland.

Brisbane was confirmed as the host after being named as the IOC’s preferred bid city in February ahead of other countries including Hungary, North and South Korea and Germany vying for the honour.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates told IOC members that Australians understood that the Games are “not won, but served” and would deliver a “Together Games”.

He said he was certain a Brisbane Olympics would be ‘in diligent, grateful and enthusiastic hands”, not least because its ambitions to host the Games stretched back to its unsuccessful bid for the 1992 Olympics.

A Brisbane Games would be “an expression of an unforgettable and revered Olympics celebrated and served together,” he said.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland’s greatest asset was its people but her presentation to the IOC focussed on the infrastructure projects in south-east Queensland that would ensure a successful “cost-neutral, climate positive” Games.

She said was confident that a mid-sized city like Brisbane could host a Games without financial distress or missed deadlines.

“I see Brisbane 2032 as a final stage of a maturing of a stunning place on our planet,” she said.

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the bid was a “truly regional proposal” supported by all 11 mayors in south-east Queensland.

Like Palaszczuk, his presentation showcased public infrastructure like the city’s green bridges, stressing that they would be built regardless of the Games but would be ready in plenty of time for the event.

“So much investment is being made independently of the Games,” he said. “It downsizes the budget but supersizes the Olympic experience”.

Of the 80 IOC members who took part in in the vote, 72 voted yes while five voted no. Three abstained.

The bid detailed a $5 billion cost of hosting the Games in Brisbane, which will be the third Australian city after Melbourne (1956) and Sydney (2000) to host an Olympics.

The Olympic win is likely to touch off a public infrastructure bonanza in south-east Queensland.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised to the IOC that federal government investment in the infrastructure task would “begin immediately”.

Brisbane’s bid was based on using mostly existing venues for major events, although the Gabba stadium will undergo a major revamp and it is likely the Games will also provide the catalyst for the construction of the proposed Brisbane Live entertainment centre at Roma St.

Major public transport projects like fast rail links to the Sunshine and Gold Coasts may also move from the drawing board to construction now that the Games are confirmed for Brisbane.

Bid documents forecast most of the Games income will come from ticket sales of around $1.3b and domestic sponsorship of $1.7b.

The IOC’s global sponsorship would contribute another $446 million.

Worldwide broadcast rights would be worth at least $951 million, or 19 per cent of the Brisbane Games’ budget – that figure could grow during future television rights negotiations.

Brisbane’s bid committee has also earmarked spending $690 million on existing and new venues and also and temporary infrastructure for various venues.

The bid predicts economic benefits of hosting of around $17 billion nationally, with about $8 billion of that for Queensland.

Athletes will stay at villages located in Brisbane (10,729 beds) and the Gold Coast (2,600 beds) with smaller villages on the Sunshine Coast and Wyaralong.

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Head of the IOC Future Host Commission Kristin Kloster Aasen told the conference she was impressed by the Brisbane bid’s willingness to co-operate with the commission’s needs, formally putting it forward for election.

She indicated last minute issues, like a venue for the golf events and accommodation had now been resolved, adding the bid had secured accomodation “in excess of Games needs”.

She said the bid was a “passion driven, athletic-centric offer from a sports loving nation”, which envisaged a Games where 84 per cent of event venues were existing or temporary.

The Olympics were a once in a lifetime opportunity for Queensland and would be strongly supported by business, according to the Infrastructure Association of Queensland.

Chief executive Priscilla Radice said aside from the “tremendous benefits” that would flow from the events the games would be a catalyst to activate planning and delivery of critical infrastructure.

“In turn, this will build confidence, attract new investment, drive sound economic growth, enhance our global brand and bring more investors and visitors to the whole of Queensland,” she said.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland said businesses needed to know details of what projects were in the pipeline so they were able to plan and invest for the games.

Senior policy advisor Gus Mandigora said the Olympics presented small and medium enterprises with significant procurement opportunities.

“There are especially promising opportunities in the building construction and maintenance, general goods and services, information and communication technology, and transport infrastructure and services categories but the scope of the work needed is not yet confirmed,” he said.

“Before we get to the delivery stage, and before spectators, athletes and their teams descend on the south east, there is more work to do to ensure Queensland small to medium sized enterprises are able to reap the legacy of the games,” he said.

LGIAsuper chief executive Kate Farrar said her funds would be looking to invest in infrastructure that would be used long after the 2032 games.

“Projects we hope to be part of will be similar to our past investments such as the Commonwealth Games accommodation on the Gold Coast, which has now been repurposed as a mixed-use residential facility within the Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct,” she said.

Farrar said the superannuation fund was now well-placed to increase its investment into the energy sector thanks to the merger.

“As demonstrated in the Rio Games in 2016, the Olympics can result in massive increases to the host city’s carbon footprint but with Japan committed to 100 per cent renewable electricity at the 2021 Olympics and Paris set to host in 2024, it is likely green energy will become the standard for hosting the games,” she said.

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