Australia

How Olympics could slip through our fingers

Queensland risks losing its early lead advantage in the race for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics if the State Government doesn't get moving, bid proponents say.

The Games proposal development was paused at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the SEQ Council of Mayors believes any further delays would cost southeast Queensland its head start against potential challengers including Qatar, India and Indonesia.

They also urged Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to include newly appointed Tourism and Sport under Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, whose previous portfolios include local government and transport, in the bid.

Council of Mayors chair Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said a southeast Queensland Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2032 was entirely within reach and would supercharge the state's economy.

"While 2020 has thrown us plenty of curve-balls, it's becoming clear that all of the reasons that prompted us to say 'yes' to the Games pre-COVID will be even more compelling in the post-COVID economy," Cr Schrinner said.

"Our battle-worn state needs the job bonanza that would come with fast-tracking infrastructure, delivering vital roads and transport upgrades.

"It needs the economic stimulation that a decade-long run to the 2032 Games would guarantee Queensland.

"With the COVID-19 recovery gearing-up, and elections now over, it's the right time to focus on the future.

"We must not waiver in our Olympic pursuit and discussions must restart quickly on how we can best secure this once-in-a-lifetime event.

IOC president Thomas Bach with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at Olympic headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland for early talks on Queensland’s 2032 Games proposal. Pic: Greg Martin/IOC

IOC president Thomas Bach with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk at Olympic headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland for early talks on Queensland’s 2032 Games proposal. Pic: Greg Martin/IOC

"Southeast Queensland is well prepared and now is not the time to take the foot off the pedal.

"The 2032 Olympic push is not only about securing a feel-good sporting event, it's about tapping-into an economic lifeline for Queensland.

"Queensland has always been an ambitious, go-ahead State. Now is the time for us to take our

ambitions for Queensland to the next level and confidently reach for this once in a lifetime

opportunity."

The SEQ Council of Mayors proposed a Games bid to fast-track new roads and rail with a feasibility study which gathered momentum on the back of The Courier-Mail's Future SEQ campaign.

In December, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Queensland was going for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics, won over by projections showing billions of dollars extra would pour into the state economy and create another 129,000 jobs on the back of the Games.

The government's value proposition analysis showed 10,000 jobs predicted from tourism in the games year alone, with half of all international games tourists tipped to visit regional Queensland providing a $10 billion uplift to the regional economy.

A State Government spokesman said Mr Hinchliffe was one of the government's most experienced ministers.

"With his portfolio and experience with major sporting events, it makes sense for the Minister to play a role in any future deliberations regarding the Olympics, along with the Premier," he said.

"That being said, the government remains primarily focused on keeping Queenslanders safe while we rebuild the state's economy.

"We look forward to hearing more information from Thomas Bach and plans for the Tokyo Olympics."

Originally published as How Olympics could slip through our fingers

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