Thurston throws support behind Games bid
MAROONS legend Johnathan Thurston has backed the Queensland Olympics bid, saying regional Queensland should get behind the SEQ 2032 Games and the benefits it offers the whole state.
Thurston and long-serving Cowboys chairman and businessman Laurence Lancini, have thrown their support behind the SEQ 2032 Olympics and Paralympics proposal.
With a new Townsville stadium as well as the Cowboys Community, Training and High Performance Centre, Thurston said North Queensland is well placed to take full advantage of an Olympic Games.
"From day one, North Queensland Stadium has been identified in the SEQ 2032 proposal as a prime location to host preliminary events. Townsville and North Queensland should get behind this golden opportunity," Thurston said.
"As a region, we're ready to attract visitors, secure international teams for pre-Games training and showcase the many businesses, skills and products we have here in North Queensland.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to promote our local businesses and tourism operators, but also inspire and engage our young people. Sport brings people together in a positive way, and there's no bigger sporting event in the world than the Olympic and Paralympic Games."
Mr Lancini said the benefits of a 2032 Olympic Games would extend well beyond the three-week sporting event.
"The Games' profile and power could kick start a decade of business and investor confidence, job creation and positive international exposure for North Queensland in the lead up to 2032.
"There is no better way to promote our new stadium and high performance centre internationally than the build up to an Olympic Games.
"We'll have Olympic teams and athletes based here in Townsville for years leading into the 2032 Games, contributing to the local economy, attracting spectators and promoting our region to their supporters back home.
"The SEQ 2032 proposal presents an amazing opportunity for our region, and our local leaders, businesses and community should be pushing to ensure North Queensland makes the most of it," Mr Lancini said.
According to the State Government's Games cost-benefit blueprint, an SEQ Olympics would create 5000 jobs a year across Queensland in the lead up to the Games, spiking with another 115,000 in the final year, with an economic benefit that could top $36 billion - $7.4b in quantifiable benefits, plus a potential $20.2b uplift in international visitor expenditure between 2020 and 2036 and increased export opportunities worth a possible $8.6b. Post Games tourism is tipped to create 10,000 jobs over three years.
The $4.45b cost of running the Games would be completely offset for taxpayers with a $2.5b grant from the IOC, ticket sales and sponsorship, the report says.
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 June, The Courier-Mail and sister SEQ mastheads officially backed the bid with front page editorials.
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.
Queensland senator Pauline Hanson has launched a campaign against the bid, saying it is not a nation-building project. She is expected to take up an invitation from the AOC for a briefing on the bid proposal later this month.