QLD_CM_NEWS_HARNESS
QLD_CM_NEWS_HARNESS

Race track in for possible Olympic transformation

ALBION Park and QEII stadium are vying for the top honour of being Queensland's 2032 Games athletics stadium, the Gold and Sunshine coasts will glitter with a swag of events and north Queensland and the Whitsundays will also get their time to shine.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her Cabinet had been presented with the possibilities of upgrading QEII, the centrepiece of the 1982 Commonwealth Games or building a new facility on the current site of the Albion harness racing track.

Albion Park could be transformed into an Olympic venue. Picture: Adam Head.
Albion Park could be transformed into an Olympic venue. Picture: Adam Head.

"What Cabinet considered today, and we're going to do further detailed work on, is one option is to upgrade QEII, now it's probably in need of an upgrade after the Commonwealth Games way back in the 80s. But also too the other option is a brand new complex which would be around Albion which there may be some private sector appetite in looking at that."

Ms Palaszczuk said the Gabba and Brisbane River were being considered for the opening ceremony.

"We believe that we could put on quite a show at the Gabba in terms of activating the length and the breadth of the river by having television screens and people from right across Queensland and around to world coming to watch the opening ceremony," she said.

Townsville Stadium may host a whole week of preliminary soccer finals, keel boat sailing would be held at the Whitsundays, mountain bike riding and other soccer games could be held in Cairns, and volleyball could be hosted overlooking the ocean at Broadbeach Park with temporary seating, and Coomera's indoor sports centre could host gymnastics.

Commonwealth Games 1982 mascot Matilda at the QEII stadium.
Commonwealth Games 1982 mascot Matilda at the QEII stadium.

Bids for the 2032 Olympics are due in 2021, with a decision due either that year or the next.

Ms Palaszczuk said Queensland was on the front foot and were "very well prepared" to beat out any competition.

Ms Palasczuk said the International Olympic Committee and its president Thomas Bach were very impressed with how far progressed Queensland was in its process and looked favourably on the fact the state already had 80 per cent of the venues needed.

While the State Government wants to include as much of Queensland as possible in the Games, the IOC and its members stipulate there must be a central "atheletes' village experience" for competitors.

It means competition is difficult to hold events much beyond an hours' travel from the main village.

One location for a central athletes village has been mooted for riverside Hamilton, with a smaller village on the Gold Coast and a possible "day village" for athletes on the Sunshine Coast.

But Townsville and Cairns would likely get pool games for events like soccer and international sailing groups are understood to be excited about competing around the Whitsundays.

The Gabba could be used for the opening ceremony.
The Gabba could be used for the opening ceremony.

The next stage for Queensland's Olympics venue planners is to juggle the desire to showcase as much of Queensland's natural and cultural assets with the IOC's athlete's village mandate.

Their job is made more complicated, but economically palatable, by the IOC's "New Norm" directive, that now marks down would-be hosts who splash out cash for Olympics-only venues.

The reform, according to Australian Olympic Committee boss John Coates, means the Olympics aims to fit the city or region where it is being hosted, not making them and their taxpayers fit the previous rigid, and expensive, Olympic template.

Beyond venues, major infrastructure including the massive international broadcast centre, main media centre and main media village are also being looked at.

The vast amount of data used to get the Olympics to the world presents challenges to planners but also a legacy opportunity, with past Games hosts using the built-in data links to fast-track new tech industry incubators and sectors in the former media areas.



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