2032 ‘Queensland’ bid

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

There has been a lot of conjecture recently about the Queensland bid for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

 

First, let me start by saying I am a supporter of the bid. It makes sense!

 

The 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games will give all Queenslanders something to look forward to in an otherwise challenging climate amid this pandemic. Just as importantly, it provides a platform to supercharge our infrastructure programs, reaffirms our place on the International Stage, brings all us Aussies together as a single voice and provides enduring pride and inspiration to an entire generation.

 

On the matter of economics and legacy. I also believe in value for money. Hosting major events, like the Olympic and Paralympics, is an expensive exercise. Take the last five summer games as an example:

 

  • Sydney (2000) $6.9 billion
  • Athens (2004) $16 billion
  • Beijing (2008) $45 billion
  • London (2012) $18 billion
  • Rio de Janeiro (2016) $20 billion

 

Current estimates for Tokyo next year, given recent scheduling changes and new COVID-safe operating requirements, are estimated at circa $15.4 billion. The preliminary work done on the 2032 Queensland bid suggests that the games could be delivered at a fraction of that cost - $4.45 billion.

 

While this is a lot of money, it should be looked at through the lens of our State Budget, our State and National GDP. The required investment broken down is approx. $400million a year over eleven years. From an accounting perspective it’s less than 1% of our annual budget and 0.1% of Queensland’s GDP.

 

Whichever way you cut it though, hosting the games cannot just be a win just for the athletes, coaches, and fans - it needs to be a win for all Queenslanders.

 

In that vein, it is important to note that much of the expenditure goes towards non-sports infrastructure. Take for example Beijing’s spend. Where 50% of costs went to new rail, roads, and airports and 25% to environmental sources.

 

Most of the expenditure is for infrastructure and it should be built anyway. We need better public transport, rail connectivity and significant road network improvements. But infrastructure aside, if we look at this as an opportunity, if we look at it through a marketing lens, then one could be forgiven for suggesting annual marketing expenditure representing 0.1% of annual turn-over is a sound investment given the potential economic returns, more jobs, branding and community benefit.

 

That is what makes me so passionate about the Queensland bid. We have an opportunity to supercharge our infrastructure backlog, while being cautious with our investment in new stadia.

 

The IOC has already given a positive nod to bids that plan to utilise already-existing sport facilities, encouraging bidders to develop long term sustainability strategy.

 

That is where the Queensland bid is so strong, we already have first class facilities in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and in our regions and I am reliably informed that close to 80% of the sports facilities required already exist in Queensland.

 

The major investments required to support our bid therefore should come in the form of major roads upgrades, heavy and light rail, upgraded medical facilities, increased housing stock, and support facilities. These investments will produce better outcomes for Queenslanders - before, during and long after the games have been and gone.

 

Big firms moved to Sydney back in 2000 following Olympics exposure, so Queensland would be well placed to become a major investment location for Asia, not to mention Australia’s sporting capital!

 

Before and after Sydney 2000, Brisbane and the Gold Coast benefited from not only increased visitation but hosted entire international contingents who came to acclimatise, train and compete. Around the nation and here on the Gold Coast we enjoyed many local events and derbies as nations went up against nation in warm up events ahead of the main event.

 

The elephant in the room of course is the 2018 Commonwealth Games. I understand people’s apprehension about exploring another major event bid so soon, and while expectations during the games were not met, the three-year lead-up resulted in a jobs and infrastructure bonanza. Gold Coasters turned out in droves for events across the city, but it was the venues and on-site caterers that profited each day leaving many venues on the strip and in key suburbs waiting for a promised boom which sadly failed to materialise.

 

There are many learnings we can take from this, however. Rather than focus on the two-week window of Games activities, we all need to focus on the jobs and opportunities that will materialise in the lead up from infrastructure and pre-games activities. This is an issue of planning and forecasting, which can be remedied.

 

Also, with respect, comparing the Commonwealth Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games is chalk and cheese. The Olympic and Paralympic Games are the world largest mega event and attract the eyeballs of billions worldwide. Every country in the world is involved, 10,000 athletes and 5,000 officials across 28 sports will come to Queensland. By comparison, the Commonwealth Games is but a fraction of this.

 

What we need to do, is bring the business community on the journey from the beginning. We need all relevant industry represented in the planning stages, and we have plenty of time to do that, so this time there is no excuse!

 

If that does not convince you, look at the pure economics. The final Commonwealth Games economic benefit was circa $2.5 billion to the QLD economy and 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games is likely to be closer to $7.4 billion.

 

That is a winning approach in my opinion.

 

 

Rob Molhoek MP

State Member for Southport

Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health

Shadow Assistant Minister for Drug and Alcohol Treatment

Shadow Assistant Minister for Families and Seniors

 

Queensland Parliament

M: 0430 209995

E: rob.molhoek@parliament.qld.gov.au

 

 

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