Australia’s Queensland State government has approved a regional bid to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk says the state will back plans to pursue the Games that economists believe could bring as much as AUD $10 billion (USD $6.8 billion) to South-east Queensland.
“Cabinet has this morning given the go-ahead to moving to the next level,” Palaszczuk said.
If successful, the Games will return to Australia July 23 to August 8 in 2032, and for the first time since they were staged in Sydney in 2000. Melbourne hosted the event in 1956.
A leadership group including Palaszczuk, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) Chief John Coates and a federal government representative will meet Wednesday to solidify a proposal aimed at starting serious discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
Palaszczuk said she met with Prime Minister Scott Morrison who has pledged his support for the project. Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has also given the bid a thumbs-up.
Bid promoters hope to leverage a potential USD $1.8 billion (AUD $2.6 billion) cash and in-kind investment from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) combined with existing venues from across Queensland to host a cost-neutral Games. In return, the region will be able to hasten the development of much-needed transportation infrastructure upgrades and create new jobs and private investment.
Early estimates revealed that the total cost of preparing for and hosting the Games would be AUD $5.3 billion (USD 3.62 billion) and could provide AUD $7.4 billion in benefits.
The Olympics and Paralympics are so much more than just a few weeks of sport. The Games would leave a legacy supporting Queenslanders for decades into the future. We’ve decided to work towards a bid, if all levels of government provide financial support. #olympics2032 pic.twitter.com/CnH8ObYMRg
— Annastacia Palaszczuk (@AnnastaciaMP) December 9, 2019
Queensland Capital Brisbane would serve as a central hub for the Games where a new 60,000 Olympic stadium is planned to be constructed. Eighty percent of the needed venues already exists across the region.
Over the next six months a bid team will work on more detailed planning, focusing on the placement of the Olympic Village and the Athletics Stadium. A candidature stage will follow from June until December 2020 when officials will enter into more intense dialog with the IOC.
In a statement Monday Palaszczuk said the Games could bring 129,000 jobs to the region, but it was key that government partners be involved.
“The Prime Minister, our mayors and local councils all see the benefits of a Queensland Games,”she said, according to the Brisbane Times.
“We have time to make sure the 2032 Olympics provides real and lasting benefits to all of us.”
According to the survey taken in April this year, of those responding across Queensland 45 percent support a bid to host the Games while only 27 percent are opposed and 16 percent are undecided. When counting only those between the ages of 18 and 34, the number jumps to 55 percent that support a bid.
Under new bidding rules, the IOC encourages governments to hold referendums over bids when there is a legal basis for such a vote and the support is questionable.
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. In September a delegation led by the Premier traveled to IOC headquarters in Lausanne to start a dialogue with the Future Host Commission for the Summer Games and IOC President Thomas Bach.
Bach has previously indicated that a 2032 host city could be elected as early a 2021, and serious discussions would begin in 2020.
Queensland could face rivals on the International stage including from India, Indonesia, Germany, China and jointly between North and South Korea.
More to come…
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.