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Costs already on the rise for Brisbane Olympics

Costs already on the rise for Brisbane Olympics
October 22, 2021

Despite Brisbane’s bid to host the 2032 Olympics being pitched as one that would avoid the budget blow outs of many past Games, Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck has this week acknowledged that the cost of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics is likely to exceed its estimated $5 billion cost.

Speaking on Tuesday to Brisbane radio station 4BC, Minister Colbeck admitted that part of the larger cost would be due to the Queensland Government’s announcement of an $1 billion rebuild of Brisbane's Gabba venue.

Minister Colbeck advised "it'll probably be a bit more than $5 (billion), given the infrastructure for transport and the infrastructure for the Games.

"The Gabba announcement was a bit of a surprise to a lot of us, but that’s what’s prompted the process that we’ve put in place now, the agreement … with respect to 50/50 funding of the Games infrastructure.

“We said, if we’re going to be 50% partners, we’ll be genuine 50% partners in this entire process.

“That goes to the arrangement that we agree to form the Organising Committee, but there’s also going to be an inter-Governmental agreement between the states and the Commonwealth.

“That will provide us with a genuine partnership in the overall process of delivery of that infrastructure, including some of the strategic decision-making that’ll be undertaken as well,”

With the Federal Government having promised to contribute 50% of the costs of Australia's third summer Olympics, the Queensland Government’s decision to rebuild the Gabba has reportedly been a source of friction between the Federal and state governments – although a rebuild of the Gabba was presented as an option in the Games bid documentation, which had placed significant emphasis on using existing venues to stage the Games.

The reported conflict has led LNP Member for Fairfax Ted O'Brien, appointed by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison as Special Envoy for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to suggest the Federal Government may not fund 50% of the Gabba rebuild.

Advising that the parties were locked in negotiations over exactly what constituted critical Games infrastructure, and which costs would be shared, O'Brien recently advised “we have an initial draft for venues, including the Gabba which will have to go through a full due diligence before there's agreement, a full design, all that sort of stuff.

"To those who are keen to get out there and talk about the Gabba, good luck to them, that's fine.

"The reality is, there's going to be a process here and any decisions around critical infrastructure for the Games, say what you like publicly, this will be a 50-50 partnership."

Aspirations for sports such as netball and surf life saving to be added to the Games program are set to cause a further rise in costs.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games Arrangements Bill 2021, which will officially determine the commitments from the state government and the Commonwealth Government for the Organising Committee, is expected to be introduced to Queensland parliament in the coming weeks.

Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk has named herself as Minister for the 2032 Games, a role in which she will nominate five independent directors for the Games, one of whom will be the President of the Organising Committee.

In the nomination process of the directors, the Queensland Premier and Prime Minister will each nominate four members, with one of those four from either party becoming vice presidents on the Games board.

Premier Palaszczuk has also confirmed that one of the five independent directors will be an Indigenous Australian.

Images: The concept for Brisbane's Gabba hosting the Games (top) and Federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck (below).

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