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Queensland’s 2032 Olympics bid receives state government green light

Brisbane's Woolloongabba stadium, which may be renovated to become the main venue of the 2032 Olympic Games. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

The Australian state of Queensland has confirmed that it will push ahead with a region-wide bid to host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games, if it can secure the necessary government funding. 

State premier Annastacia Palaszczuk signed off on the proposals today (Monday) after a detailed value proposition assessment showed that hosting the Games in the innovative format would provide a significant economic benefit for Queensland, including the creation of up to 130,000 jobs, an A$20bn boost to international tourism spending in the state, and delivering as much as A$8.6bn in new trade opportunites. 

Palaszczuk said that the state would launch its official bid once the country’s federal government gives its approval and guarantees funding for the bid. 

The country’s Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, has previously suggested that he would be prepared to back a bad “all the way.” 

In announcing that the Queensland State Cabinet had signed off on the plans, both Palaszczuk and Ted O’Brien, the Prime Minister’s representative on the Olympics delegation, focused on the potential legacy of hosting the Games.

“We are now officially off and running to secure the Games in 2032,” said O’Brien. “The real value for Queensland, and for Australia, is not just those couple of weeks when the eyes of the world are on us, but the decades of positive legacy.”

Palaszczuk added: “This is about so much more than a few weeks of sport. Hosting the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics could be a game changer and deliver 20 years of accelerated opportunity for our State.

“That’s why Cabinet has today made the decision to continue working towards securing a Games – and we will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we receive the financial support we require from all levels of Government.”

If successful, the state capital of Brisbane would receive upgraded transport links to the north of the state and either a new multi-sport venue or radical redevelopments of the famous Woolloongabba stadium. Australian Olympic Committee chairman John Coates has said that Brisbane will have a 60,000-capacity stadium in place by the time of the Games. The Gabba’s current maximum capacity is 42,000.

The bid began life focused only on Brisbane, but earlier this year, the AOC’s chief executive, Matt Carroll, told SportBusiness that he was  keen to pursue a state-wide bid, encouraging Palaszczuk to think about a Queensland bid, not just a Brisbane one. In July,  Palaszczuk confirmed  she was committed to the innovative state-wide Olympics, and in September, the proposal won praise from International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach.

The IOC’s New Norm and Agenda 2020 commitments have opened the door for such hosting models, which relieve the burden on a single city, spreading the costs and the risks, as well as providing a legacy to a wider region. A similarly geographically sprawling bid from Germany, covering 13 cities in the Rhine-Ruhr region, is planned for 2032. 

It is unlikely that the IOC would award another Games to Western Europe just eight years after Paris, however. The 2032 Olympics looks set to be another Games for the wider Asia-Pacific region, with Indonesia and India so far the two confirmed bidders. Alongside them, a historic joint bid from North and South Korea is expected, as well as another potential Chinese proposal, with the country’s second city, Shanghai, currently undertaking a feasibility study.