A Brisbane 2028 regional Olympic bid with sites across south-east Queensland took a step forward Friday following a meeting of the region’s mayors and their approval of a (AUD) $2.5 million feasibility study into the project.
The mayors decided to go ahead with plans even though the Gold Coast and Logan city councils voted against contributing money to the project. The City of Brisbane alone is set to provide $870,000 over two years toward the cost of the study.
Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates welcomed the decision to move ahead with the study. He said Friday “the AOC has supported the concept of a feasibility study from the outset.”
“We see this as the first step in the process.”
Coates said plans must maximize use of existing facilities and fall within International Olympic Committee (IOC) requirements.
“We believe this would be possible given the existing venues and infrastructure spread throughout the entire Council of Mayors area of south-east Queensland,” Coates said adding that “the current venues centred on Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast would be boosted by the additional venues being built as part of the 2016 Commonwealth Games.”
Council of Mayors deputy chair and Toowoomba Mayor Councillor Paul Antonio said the study would look at the future infrastructure needs of the region, regardless of whether or not the bid goes ahead.
He said, “we’re going to be looking at mass people improvement which I think is critical for the growth that’s happening here now and well into the future”, and explained that the Logan and Gold Coast regions would not be left out of the study despite their refusal to participate in the costs.
“We need to study the whole region – it would be a deficient study if it didn’t include them. We will simply cut our cloth to make sure that this works out and we get the best value for our dollar.”
Regardless of the study, there is no guarantee that a bid by the region will reach the international stage when the IOC accepts applications from all countries starting in 2019. The AOC still needs to determine whether it will enter a bid into the race, and if so choose a nomination from among other regions that may be interested.
Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk said the feasibility study would become a valuable legacy even if the bid doesn’t move forward.
“We are not looking at this purely in terms of an Olympic Games bid,” Quirk said.
“The feasibility study will provide a lot of work that has to be done in any event – whether there is an Olympic bid ultimately to occur or not.
“It is about the connectivity of south-east Queensland that will be absolutely essential as a part of any Olympic Games bid.”
On Thursday Brisbane City Council Labour opposition leader Peter Cumming referenced Rome’s imminent withdrawal from its 2024 Olympic bid to cast doubt on Brisbane’s efforts.
Cumming said “it’s time for Quirk to ditch this fanciful vanity project and focus on the very real needs of this city – public transport, road congestion and reining in bad development.”
Rome’s Mayor refused to back a bid from the Eternal City Wednesday for similar reasons, likely to cause it’s demise in City Hall next week.
Australia last hosted the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games and also staged the event in Melbourne in 1956. The IOC will likely elect the 2028 host city in 2021.