Australia’s 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games bid from Southeast Queensland has been stopped in its tracks by the coronavirus pandemic, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk revealed Friday in Parliament.
In the letter tabled to Parliament the Premier said the bid was to be put “on hold” for an undetermined period while the global community fights against COVID-19, a virus that has killed hundreds of thousands worldwide and put countries in lockdown.
“As Queensland’s and Australia’s focus has been placed on responding to coronavirus … (the leadership group) agreed that the 2032 Games candidature discussions be put on hold until further notice,” Ms Palaszczuk said according to The Australian.
The Queensland government, the federal government and regional mayors along with the Australian Olympic Committee are part of the leadership group that arrived at the decision to put a stop to bid activities.
Last month officials in Jakarta said that the Olympic bid from the Indonesian capital wouldn’t likely move forward until December of this year as that nation faces pandemic challenges of its own.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach hinted last week that this isn’t the right time for an Olympic bid during the global crisis, as he referenced the early awarding of the 2028 edition to Los Angeles in 2017.
He said “otherwise we would now in this crisis time have to start the candidature procedure for the Games in 2028, and this, to say diplomatically would have not likely been the best moment to do this.”
The Olympics scheduled to take place in Tokyo this year has already been postponed until 2021.
Southeast Queensland launched its Brisbane-centered bid in December after an ongoing dialog with the IOC’s Host City Commission. The project received multi-level government approval in January and officials expected initial plans to be in the hands of the IOC in July. The early and aggressive start made Australia’s bid the perceived front runner.
Other bids from China, Germany and jointly between North and South Korea had also been discussed.
Many economists around the world have predicted that major economies will fall into extended recessions as a result of the the pandemic. Plans put together to host the Games may now have to be adjusted to new realities.
There is no set timetable for the election of the host city for the 2032 Games, but IOC officials had hinted earlier this year that the winner could be chosen as early as 2021.
The IOC has been contacted for comment on this development.
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.