Please, be a ring leader

Heavy­weights im­plore Palaszczuk to pro­ceed with Bris­bane Olympics bid

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - FRONT PAGE - PETER GLEE­SON

MORE than 30 Queens­land po­lit­i­cal, sport­ing and cor­po­rate lead­ers have signed an ex­tra­or­di­nary open let­ter to Pre­mier An­nasta­cia Palaszczuk, im­plor­ing her to pro­ceed with a bid to host the 2032 Olympics.

The let­ter, whose sig­na­to­ries in­clude rugby league leg­end Dar­ren Lock­yer, Seoul gold medal­list Dun­can Arm­strong and en­ter­tain­ment king Har­vey Lis­ter, has been ac­com­pa­nied by a warn­ing from Bris­bane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrin­ner that ki­bosh­ing a Games bid would 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.

Cr Schrin­ner said the Olympics was a once-in-a-life­time op­por­tu­nity to at­tract bil­lions of dol­lars of in­vest­ment into the state.

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.

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 (right) 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-al­ife­time 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 south­east 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.”

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.”

DAR­REN LOCK­YER

Adrian Schrin­ner Bris­bane Lord Mayor DUNCANARMS­TRONG The peo­ple of Bris­bane are and the south­east con­fi­dent and ca­pa­ble. best We can put on the Games ever

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