Australia’s bid to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032 will take its pitch to Lausanne, Switzerland next week for key meetings with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) at the organization’s new headquarters.
Federal Member of Parliament Ted O’Brien will represent the Prime Minister as part of the delegation that, he says, will spend much of the time listening to the IOC to lay the groundwork for a Southeast Queensland bid to host the Games in Australia for a third time.
“I want to ensure we’re gleaning every possible insight from the IOC so we can put together the greatest pitch the Olympic Movement has ever seen,” O’Brien told Australian Associated Press.
Led by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the multi-partisan team hopes to show that Australia is united behind plans to host the Games.
“The fact we wear different political stripes just goes to show how serious we are about working together,” O’Brien said.
Southeast Queensland Council of Mayors (SEQ) representative Mark Jamieson will also join the delegation that plans to meet with representatives of the Paris 2024 organizing committee and the International Paralympic Committee. He claims the Games costs will not be a burden to taxpayers after the promised financial contribution by the IOC, and plans to use existing venues across the broad region. He believes the Games could even generate a small surplus.
“We can use existing facilities. Clearly some need upgrades and we do need some new investment in others to deliver what’s required for the Games. But this is one of the fastest growing places in the country,” Jamieson told the Brisbane Times.
Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President and IOC Vice President Jim Coates has been encouraging the bid, but also insisted that plans should only move forward if the region commits to necessary transport upgrades and puts them in place by 2032. These are already part of long-term development plans.
Coates was the architect behind the IOC’s recently redesigned bid process that allows for regional bids with an emphasis on using existing venues to keep costs low.
However general infrastructure projects to support the Games, including those for transportation upgrades that are needed even without the Games, have caused major cost over runs while planning recent Olympics as projects faced the added pressure of delivering within a set time box.
Australia’s bid emerged as an early favorite this year after Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged AUD $10 million (USD $6.85 million) towards developing plans, claiming the expense was warranted even if the IOC doesn’t choose Australia to host the Games.
Queensland could face rivals on the International stage including from India, Indonesia, China and jointly between North and South Korea.
Under new bidding rules unveiled in June that drop the strict scheduling around the process, the race for all future Games including 2032 has now opened. New future Games commissions for both Summer and Winter editions will liaise with all interested cities and select qualified bids when the timing makes sense.
Former rules would have seen the 2032 host city chosen in 2025 but Coates has hinted that the selection could now happen as early as next year.
A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.