Promise of new 80,000-seat stadium

 

A WORLD-class stadium in Brisbane with capacity for 80,000 people to watch the athletics and opening and closing ceremonies will form the centrepiece of a bold Queensland bid for the 2032 Olympics.

It comes as an Australian delegation met with Olympics powerbrokers in Switzerland overnight, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk telling the congregation that Queensland would stage a "safe and welcoming" Games.

A Queensland Games would also feature two athletes villages - one in Brisbane and the other on the Gold Coast.

Legacy transport infrastructure, such as a faster rail network linking south-east Queensland and a second M1 Highway between the Gold Coast and Brisbane, will also be built to cater for an Olympics and a population boom across the region.

IOC president Thomas Bach meets with the Australian delegation, including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and AOC boss John Coates. Picture: Greg Martin/IOC
IOC president Thomas Bach meets with the Australian delegation, including Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and AOC boss John Coates. Picture: Greg Martin/IOC

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has softened her stance on a fast train network - a key action item from The Courier-Mail's Future SEQ campaign - recognising that it is a vital piece of the transport infrastructure jigsaw needed if the Sunshine State wins the right to host the 2032 Olympics.

Council of Mayors head Mark Jamieson and the Federal Government's Olympics representative, Ted O'Brien, have both said publicly that faster rail is "critical'' to an Olympics bid.

Ms Palaszczuk, Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates and Star Entertainment Group chairman John O'Neill led the Queensland delegation, which last night met with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

For the first time, Mr Bach had invited a country to sit down with the IOC executive to work out whether a successful bid was feasible.

This is in stark contrast to the previous system where bidding countries spent tens of millions of dollars to try to win the bid.

Ms Palaszczuk told Mr Bach at last night's meeting Queensland's greatest asset was its "can do'' mentality.

"We will provide a safe and welcoming Games,'' she said. "There is no other place like Queensland on the planet.''

In the meeting, the Queensland delegation heard from the IOC on what its expectations were, particularly around transport infrastructure, security and athlete comfort.

Mr Bach wants "very few losers'' from the new bidding process.

A new 80,000 capacity stadium would be built for the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.
A new 80,000 capacity stadium would be built for the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.

If the IOC likes what it hears, Queensland will proceed on its final bid, which will go before the IOC just before the Tokyo Olympics in July next year.

A final decision would then be likely by 2022.

The RNA Showgrounds and QEII at Nathan have emerged as possible sites for the new Brisbane stadium.

The current QEII stadium would need to be demolished, but it's unclear if the historic exhibition grounds used for the Ekka would be impacted.

The Courier-Mail's recent Future Tourism campaign revealed that the Mayne Rd Rail Yards at Bowen Hills and Albion Park were also among likely sites for a new stadium.

"The (Olympics) value assessment is being carried out and we will be looking at all transport options,'' Ms Palaszczuk said.

Mr Jamieson said that fast rail was important when talking about the mass movement of people in south-east Queensland.

"You've got to be able to move big numbers of people for an Olympics and fast rail is the best option,'' he said.

China and Russia loom as the main rivals to a Queensland bid. Shanghai and St Petersburg also are understood to be readying bids for 2032.

The high-powered bids would join other bidding candidates, such as a joint North-South Korea pitch, Mumbai, Johannesburg and Jakarta.

The IOC will appoint a Host Commission by the end of the year. It will assess the quality of the bid cities and recommend a country.

That recommendation would then be assessed by the IOC executive committee, before finally being signed off by the 105 IOC delegates.