Pauline Hanson slams organisers of 2023 Brisbane Olympic Games: ‘We warned you that there would be budget blowouts and waste’
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has slammed the organizers of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games as preparations for the event appear to be in tatters.
International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates this week said the games were “on the nose” with the Queensland public after the government abandoned venue redevelopment.
Former Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk pitched a redeveloped Gabba Stadium as the crown jewel in the Olympics bid, but the project was declared ‘dead’ with Mr. Coates who said the government had failed to promote alternative locations.
In January, new Queensland Premier Steven Miles ordered a review of the redevelopment over concerns the price tag had risen from $1 billion to $2.7 billion.
Senator Hanson said on Thursday that “as far back as 2018” her party had warned that “Labour’s Olympic vanity project was unworkable and not properly costed”.
“We warned you there would be budget blowouts and waste,” she said.
“We warned you before the 2022 state election. We warn you again.’
She pointed to cost estimates for the Sydney 2000 Olympics rising from $3.2 billion to $6.9 billion, with the two-week event making a loss of $2.1 billion.
One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has called for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics to be scrapped after the redevelopment of its main stadium looks increasingly unfeasible
Senator Hanson pointed out that the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games made a loss in terms of the business and tourism it generated
Her comments come after former Victorian Labor premier Dan Andrews sensationally canceled his state’s 2026 Commonwealth Games last year after cost estimates rose from $2.6 billion to $7 billion.
Premier Miles commissioned former Brisbane mayor Graham Quirk to look at the Gabba project and the equally troubled Brisbane Arena project, which would have built a 17,000-seat auditorium above the Roma St railway line to house the host swimming events.
But Coates, who has been central to Australia securing the Sydney and then Brisbane Olympics, pre-empted the March 18 review this week by saying in an interview the Gabba project was “just not taking off”.
“We put it to the review committee we have to abandon the Gabba and we have to find another site for the athletics,” Mr Coates told News Corp.
He proposed holding the opening ceremony at Suncorp Stadium and athletics at the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre, the venue for the 1982 Commonwealth Games.
IOC Vice President John Coates said this week that the Games are ‘on the nose’ in Brisbane
The redevelopment of Brisbane’s iconic Gabba Stadium for the Olympics is all but canned after costs blew out to triple the original $1 billion cost
Since then, Australian Olympic Committee president Ian Chesterman has agreed there are better options than rebuilding the iconic Brisbane venue for the Games, and it will be put before a review committee.
Brisbane Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the Gabba project was ‘dead’ while Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace said she would wait for the report.
Brisbane 2032 Organizing Committee president Andrew Liveris said the Gabba and Brisbane Arena projects wasted valuable time preparing for the Games.
“I regret the loss of time and the distraction that took a bit away from the wonderful achievement of winning these Games,” he said
‘We don’t need to re-litigate every decision about venues and infrastructure. We need to get the best outcomes for all stakeholders and get on with the work planning for what will be the biggest event in Queensland’s history, and one for us all to be proud of.’
Ms Grace denied that time had been ‘wasted’ and the Games had become a planning ‘mess’.
“Since our bid, there have been a lot of changes post-Covid … building costs are one of those … so it’s time to stock up,” she said.
Queensland Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace insisted the Olympics were not ‘dead’ in the state and alternative venues would be found
Whether the Gabba should be demolished and rebuilt as the centerpiece of the games has been hotly debated since a plan was released in November.
The Queensland Government has unveiled a $2.7 billion Gabba redevelopment plan that would see the stadium demolished, rebuilt and out of action from 2025 to 2030.
It will also force Brisbane’s AFL and cricket to find a new home.
Opponents have called for its rebuild to be scrapped because of rising costs after the plan’s initial $1 billion price tag ballooned to nearly three times the estimate.
Announcing the review in January, Premier Steven Miles said he hoped the independent process could find options that were better value for money.
Mr Miles also said he shared the concerns expressed by Queenslanders about the level of expenditure involved in a five-year rebuild.
“Concerns about the cost of some venues have made it a divisive issue in the Queensland community – I want to change that,” Mr Miles said.
Deputy State Opposition Leader Jarrod Bleijie said the LNP’s position on the Gabbas had not changed.
“The Liberal National Party has always held the view that we do not support the full Gabba discount,” he said on Thursday.
“It was a $2.7 billion project without a business case, without any financial credibility behind it.”
The Queensland Greens also called for the entire project to be scrapped, citing the threat the rebuilding plan posed to East Brisbane State School.
“The Greens have been fighting this stupid project for three years now, calling the extreme cost, the lack of consultation and the fact that a school and park being destroyed for a four-week event is ridiculous,” South Brisbane MP Dr Amy MacMahon said.
“We won’t stop until we hear the Prime Minister say that the Gabba rebuild is scrapped, and East Brisbane State School and Raymond Park are protected.”