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Brisbane halfway through Games journey – time to put pedal to metal, says retiring Mayor

Problems identified in the early planning for Queensland’s Olympic bid nine years ago still remain, particularly with public transport, says an outgoing Mayor whose work contributed to the state’s successful bid.

 

Feb 19, 2024, updated Feb 19, 2024
Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson (Photo: ABC)

Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson (Photo: ABC)

Outgoing Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) Mayor Mark Jamieson said the state government needed to get back to basics and work smartly to get the community’s cooperation to get back on solid ground for the 2032 Olympic Games.

The Sunshine Coast will be a key delivery partner for the games including an athlete’s village and 20,000 seat stadium.

“When I went to Sydney on behalf of the Council of Mayors to meet with IOC President Thomas Bach in 2015, he made it really clear about what he was after, we made it clear to him about what we’re able to deliver.

“Unfortunately that’s sort of gone off the rails a bit….I think the state government whose really the last level of government to make a commitment…it just got out of control,” he said.

Mr Jamieson said he did not know how the government would resolve the many issues on its plate, like youth crime and the housing crisis, while contending with planning for the games.

“To be honest I am not sure how they are going to resolve that. Short of that, I think this is where the Premier is heading currently to get the government out of the way and get people from the private sector who are best placed to drive the initiatives that are necessary for the games and allow (government departments) to be doing their work to deliver the necessary public transport.”

“Because we have always said to our community, come the day after the Paralympics finish, our area of Australia in southeast Queensland, we’ll have a world class public transport system….” he said.

Cr Jamieson said he is stepping down after twelve years as SCC Mayor to spend more time with his family.

Queensland’s local government elections will be held on March 16.

He said in 2015 the Council of Mayors had a clear picture of what was needed with a then predicted population growth of two million people in southeast Queensland over 20 years.

“Our forecast investment from state and federal governments into transportation in south- east Queensland, particularly in public transport was way, way down on what going to be necessary.

“So we either become gridlocked or we find a way to attract additional funding from state and federal governments and the council of mayors saw the Olympics as the ideal vehicle to encourage that investment.

“Here we are nine years later and a lot of those problems are still exactly where they were way back then,’’ he said.

Cr Jamieson also warned that the rail network for the Sunshine Coast beyond the current structure is a “really critical legacy” everyone needs to focus on. He said he is confident the plans for the region will go ahead with many of the development sites already approved and hope for completion by 2028.

“We have a number of events on the Sunshine Coast, including the marathon, the marathon walk, road cycling and cycling time trials…we also have football, basketball and mountain biking, and the Paralympic marathon’’ he said.

Cr Jamieson said Mayors speak with greater authority for their communities but still local government “remained a child of the state”.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think the state necessarily always uses it to their best advantage,’’ he said.

While there has been turmoil where individual counsellors and some councils under the microscope of the Queensland’s integrity agencies and before the courts, Cr Jamieson said the local government’s reputation was in good shape.

“Some of those councillors put through the wringer…are good, honest, hardworking people just doing their job.

In his role as the Local Government of Queensland (LGAQ) president, Cr Jamieson said his experience with councillors around the state was good, hardworking people wanting to do the right thing by their communities.

“It’s been a wonderful way to understand the great contribution that local government makes and indeed anybody makes with a much smaller income.’’

He said three percent of Australia’s total taxation goes to councils which look after 76 percent of the nation’s roads and one-third of the country’s infrastructure.

While he said he is not favouring any candidate, his advice to his successor was to recognise they will manage a billion-dollar budget which belongs to the community of the Sunshine Coast and to keep pushing a strong economic agenda.

Cr Jamieson said he wanted to thank his family, staff and fellow councillors he has worked with during his 12-year term.

“My wife Laurel and family have certainly made plenty of sacrifices as well, when Dad wasn’t around to do things that they’d like do. Laurel has been a great sport as has been my extended my family,’’ he said.

Cr Jamieson said he has no immediate plans for work and wants to spend time with his family.

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