The 2032 Olympics will catapult south-east Queensland onto the world stage, but there’s a long way to go before the region will be ready to meet the demands of hosting the Games.
Organisers have pitched the sporting spectacle as a more sustainable and cost-effective event that will leave a meaningful legacy for the growing region.
Over the next 11 years, authorities will pour major resources and money into transforming Brisbane into a new world city — though the full cost is still unclear.
Utilising venues new and old
The 2032 Olympic master plan includes three main hubs in the state’s south-east corner, which will host 28 sports split across them.
There will be 21 venues in Brisbane, seven on the Gold Coast and four on the Sunshine Coast.
Football preliminary matches will also be played in Cairns, Townsville, Toowoomba, Sydney and Melbourne.
The Gabba will be the jewel in Brisbane’s Olympic crown, hosting the athletics as well as the opening and closing ceremonies.
The stadium is due for a $1 billion rebuild that will increase its capacity to 50,000 spectators.
As part of its ‘New Norm’, the International Olympic Committee has scrapped costly old rules requiring sports to have their own purpose-built facilities.
Cr Schrinner said it meant 84 per cent of venues for the 2032 Games would be existing, refurbished or temporary.
“This is not so much about building new facilities or stadiums or sporting arenas — it’s about trying to use what we’ve got or upgrade what we’ve got,” he said.
“We have seen other cities just throwing endless amounts of money at the Olympics — that’s not the way we’ve pitched it for Brisbane.”
But there are some major new venues in the pipeline, including a 15,000-seat aquatic centre in the Brisbane CBD, to host swimming and water polo.
The master plan also includes a new 12,000-seat indoor basketball facility, a 10,000-seat gymnastics venue and a boxing centre at Moreton Bay.
The main athletes’ village will be built on prime Brisbane waterfront real estate at Hamilton, with smaller accommodation options on the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Kooralbyn, near the rowing venue.
What about the cost?
There is a long history of cost blowouts for Olympic host cities, but organisers of the Brisbane Games said the anticipated $4.5 billion operating budget will be “cost neutral”.
However, University of Queensland tourism and events expert Judith Mair said infrastructure expenses were excluded from those projections.
“The problem with that budget is that doesn’t include the public transport or the new road infrastructure … it doesn’t include the cost of security, it doesn’t include the cost of the staff who’ll be working in the organising committee,” Dr Mair said.