A letter endorsed by 32 business and sport leaders in Australia’s Queensland has urged Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to continue moving forward with a 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid, as a decisive announcement looms this month.
The letter, penned by state capital Brisbane’s Mayor Adrian Schrinner, was prompted by rumours that some cabinet politicians are trying to push back against the bid amid pressure from unions that fear the costs and risks of the Games.
Some prominent bid boosters signing the letter include Rugby footballer and television commentator Darren Lockyer, Olympic Champion swimmer Duncan Armstrong, venue operator and AEG Ogden CEO Harvey Lister, cricketer Ian Healy and Australian construction mogul Scott Hutchinson.
They say stopping short of submitting a bid for the Games will be “the state’s biggest regret.”
“We are not talking about millions of dollars in investment – it’s billions,’’ Schrinner said said, according to the Sunday Mail.
“We are not talking about flow-on benefits for years – we are talking decades.
“You only need to look south to Sydney to see the positive lasting legacy of hosting an Olympics.’’
Organizers are expecting an International Olympic Committee (IOC) cash and in-kind gift of US $1.7 billion (AUD $2.5 billion) should Queensland be chosen to stage the Games, and that will help the event run deficit free and deliver a new 65,000 seat stadium to Brisbane.
An initial feasibility study revealed that 85 percent of the needed venues are already in place.
The Games are being viewed as a possible catalyst to much needed transport infrastructure upgrades in the region, and according to government reports the vent will result in a AUD $22 billion overall economic stimulus.
Earlier this year IOC Vice President John Coates, who also leads the Australian Olympic Committee, told organizers that he would only back a bid from Queensland if needed transport upgrades were already approved by the state.
Palaszczuk is expected to approve the bid this month with a formal application expected to be delivered to the IOC in the middle of next year. Under new IOC rules introduced in June, a Future Host Commission will vet the application among those from other countries and determine which cities to recommend to the IOC Executive Boards and the IOC membership for a vote. The exact timing is at the discretion of the IOC.
Currently considered the front runner, Australia was the first serious bid to leave the starting block when a delegation traveling to IOC headquarters in Lausanne met with President Thomas Bach earlier this year. Continued speed will give the Queensland bid a significant competitive advantage.
A potential joint bid between North and South Korea has made diplomatic overtures during the past year but the project seems to have stalled as tensions on the Korean Peninsula continue to create uncertainty.
Indonesia has also hinted at bidding for the Games using the Jakarta-Palembang 2018 Asian Games as a springboard, but a recent decision to move the Capital to Borneo could create friction to move forward.
India is considering launching a bid from one of its major cities while Germany is proposing a regional project across several municipalities.