Gabba plan might be dead and buried, but look what could spring up in its place

The Queensland Premier has thrown his support behind calls to relocate the Australian Institute of Sport from Canberra to the Sunshine State ahead of the 2032 Olympics.

Feb 19, 2024, updated Feb 19, 2024
Deputy Premier Steven Miles has been opening pop-up vaccination clinics at coast landmarks. (Image: AAP)

Deputy Premier Steven Miles has been opening pop-up vaccination clinics at coast landmarks. (Image: AAP)

Steven Miles questioned why Queenslanders had to travel to the nation’s capital to train, saying they made up the majority of Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic teams at each Games.

Australian Institute of Sport chair John Wylie and director Andrew Fraser told News Corp on Monday the “ageing” facility in Canberra should be abandoned and relocated to Queensland before the Brisbane 2032 Games.

Mr Miles backed their call, delivering a stinging criticism of Canberra.

“I think everything should move from Canberra to Brisbane,” he told reporters on Monday.

“Canberra is an awful place. Who would want to go to Canberra?”

Mr Miles questioned why the state should send its best athletes to Canberra, saying Queensland offered superior weather, lifestyle and economy that could offer jobs alongside training.

“Whenever I talk to athletes they would prefer to be training in Queensland rather than Canberra and I don’t blame them, I hate going to Canberra too,” he said.

He said the logistics and reality of moving the facility were questions for the federal government.

An independent review into the AIS facilities was released to the federal government last Wednesday and found the infrastructure should remain in Canberra but should be revitalised.

“Keeping the AIS in Canberra will help guide effective investment in sporting facilities to ensure the AIS continues to best support high-performance athletes on the road to Brisbane 2032,” Sports Minister Annika Wells said.

Ms Wells said relocating the facility would compromise athlete preparations for the 2032 Olympics.

But Mr Miles appeared to receive some rare support from Queensland Opposition leader David Crisafulli on Monday, who welcomed calls for the relocation of the AIS.

“Queensland is the sporting hub of the nation and anyone who wants to relocate here will be welcomed with open arms,” he said.

“And anyone who doesn’t have rocks in their head.”

The AIS opened in Canberra in 1981, delivering support to Australia’s sporting programs.

It was conceived after the Australian Olympic team failed to win a gold medal at the Montreal Olympics in 1976.

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