Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk envisions the entire Brisbane city area becoming an Olympic venue with hundreds of thousands able to enjoy the atmosphere even outside of stadiums if the city hosts the 2032 Olympic Games.
The premier’s comments come as she announced the Gabba as the proposed main stadium for the Games after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) chose Brisbane as the preferred candidate in February.
Formerly known as the Brisbane Cricket Ground, the 126-year-old Gabba stadium is used 40 weeks of the year for summer and winter sports and international matches.
“Every Games needs a home,” Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said. “The Gabba has been home to our sport since 1895.
“A home for the 2032 Olympic Paralympic Games could be its crowning glory.”
The stadium is centrally located just two kilometres south of the CBD and is already connected to the South East Queensland (SEQ) busway network, a dedicated network of roads, tunnels, and highway lanes just for buses.
The closeness to the CBD will also give Queensland an advantage other Games hosts haven’t had, the Queensland government said.
As a result, Palaszczuk said the entire city would become a Games venue with hundreds of thousands able to share the atmosphere whether they were watching big screens along the Brisbane River or crossing the new Queen’s Wharf bridge.
“I can see the river lined with people watching big screens, all taking part in the fun and excitement of the games,” Palaszczuk said.
“There’s South Bank leading to West End, which is connected to Roma Street via the Kurilpa Bridge with a new bridge under construction for the new Queen’s Wharf development.”
“There are city cats offering even more options for transport,” she said. “All of this is infrastructure we already have.”
A new Albert Street train station will mean thousands will be able to travel from the city to the stadium in three minutes, making the games more accessible to people with disabilities and the elderly.
The Queensland government has earmarked $1 billion for the upgrades, including a new pedestrian plaza linking the stadium to the Cross River Rail, which is currently under construction.
The premier said the plaza could even become a Games hub, playing host to concerts and even medal presentations.
The proposal will increase the stadium’s capacity to 50,000, and the premier hopes that hosting the Olympic Games will mark a new chapter for the Gabba’s next 100 years.
She called on all levels of government to support the bid.
Brisbane Stadium Designing firm Populous had provided concept designs for a possible Gabba upgrade with the company’s Director Chris Paterson saying the Gabba satisfied the three rules of good development: location, location, location.
“Brisbane already boasts the world’s best rectangular stadium in Suncorp Stadium,” Paterson said. “This is an opportunity to complement it with the best round field stadium right in the centre of the city.”
Palaszczuk previously said that the Games would use the existing sporting infrastructure built for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The Gabba would join Cairns, Townsville, the Sunshine Coast, and the Gold Coast as venues for the Olympic Games.
The premier also said it would create a boom for the local economy and generate around 130,000 jobs.
A final decision on Brisbane hosting the Olympics rests on detailed discussions with Games chiefs and key commitments from the federal government, which has given it preliminary approval.
“This is still contingent on guarantees that need to be received from the federal government,” Palaszczuk said on Monday.
But the premier noted that she would be engaging with Prime Minister Scott Morrison in the coming weeks to sort out the finer details.
“We are basically doing years and months of work in a very short time frame to meet the deadlines the IOC has set us,” she said.