Heavyweights’ Games plea to Premier


BRISBANE Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has taken the extraordinary step of writing an open letter to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, imploring her to proceed with a 2032 Olympic bid.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The letter is signed by 32 of Queensland's biggest corporate and sporting heavyweights, who say not proceeding will be "the state's biggest regret".

It follows speculation that there are moves within State Cabinet to thwart the Olympic bid, with unions fearful of the cost.

Cabinet is expected to make a decision within days on whether to officially bid for the 2032 Olympics.

Those signing the letter to Ms Palaszczuk include Queensland luminaries such as Darren Lockyer, Duncan Armstrong, Harvey Lister, Ian Healy, Scott Hutchinson and Luke Fraser.

Cr Schrinner said the Olympics was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"We are not talking about millions of dollars in investment - it's billions,'' he said.

"We are not talking about flow-on benefits for years - we are talking decades.

"You only need to look south to Sydney to see the positive lasting legacy of hosting an Olympics.''

Under the new host city candidature rules, the International Olympic Committee will write a cheque for US$1.7 billion (A$2.5 billion) to help with the cost of a new 65,000-seat stadium. The Government estimates 85 per cent of existing venues are built, many constructed during the lead-up the Commonwealth Games.

The Government's own research shows Queensland will receive up to $22 billion in flow-on economic stimulus if it hosted the Olympics.

That doesn't take into account the acceleration in transport infrastructure, such as a second M1 and a very fast train between the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

In the letter, it shows the major events hosted in south-east Queensland over the past 40 years, such as the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane and the Gold Coast, World Expo, CHOGM, the G20 and Goodwill Games.

Cr Schrinner said the IOC viewed the Queensland bid favourably.

Under the new bid protocols, Queensland would likely formally bid just before the Tokyo Olympics in June next year. A decision would likely be made in 2022.

Cr Schrinner said the Games would transform Brisbane into a world-class city.

"The IOC signs an agreement with the host city and the state and I'm ready to sign on the dotted line today," he said.

"This is no folly. It's time to lock and load this bid. It's beyond Brisbane, with events across the entire state."

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner. Picture: Annette Dew
Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner. Picture: Annette Dew

Cr Schrinner said the Brisbane River would like become the centrepiece of the opening and closing ceremonies.

"The people of Brisbane and the south-east are confident and capable. We can put on the best Games ever," he said.

"We in south-east Queensland are lucky to live in the greatest part of the world and it's time we did something bold and exciting, ­something optimistic and forward-looking.

"I want us to show the world not only where we live, but who we are.

"I give the Premier my full support on this and encourage her to take the next vital step."

In the past fortnight, the Premier has travelled around the south-east, Mt Isa and Cairns and joined meetings of the AOC and the Athletes Commission in Brisbane.

She said that, while people were excited, the value of staging the Games must outweigh the costs.

"They say 'do you think we can do it?" she said.

"People are excited about the prospect of hosting a Queensland Olympics."