Queensland's Olympic hopes could hinge on Games bosses successfully convincing Japan to go ahead with the Tokyo event next year, despite the massive COVID challenges such a spectacle would face.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in Japan pushing the credentials of the Brisbane 2032 proposal, backing it with fiscal support.

But behind the scenes, bid backers say the greatest risk to Queensland is not competitors Qatar, India and Indonesia but Tokyo, which is already Games-ready, being offered the 2032 slot.


With 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (Los Angeles) already taken, 2032 would be the next games available to offer some salve for the tens of billions Japan has already spent.

And it could be done. So well were some 1964 facilities maintained from when Japan last hosted the Games, they could have been reused.

If Tokyo maintained those old facilities in a pristine state for nearly 60 years, keeping the new ones spruce for the next 12 years is not inconceivable.

On the other hand, Brisbane could theoretically hold a Games next year, already having more than 80 per cent of facilities identified according to the State Government's analysis last year.

But it would probably come at one massive cost - no international spectators.

Queensland could have the capacity to safely host the thousands of competitors and officials in bubbles but we would have to forego the international crowds.

This theoretical 2021 Games would show Queensland as a beacon of normality in a troubled world. But it would also be a massive missed future opportunity, an Olympic own-goal.

 

Aside from the huge hole punched in the tourism projections by not having international visitors - half of those expected to visit Queensland for the Games were tipped to visit other parts of the state, pouring in an extra $10 billion uplift into the economy - we'd also miss out on the infrastructure underpinning the 2032 proposal.

The 2032 bid has always been drafted as a motivator for massive non-sports infrastructure - fast rail to turn southeast Queensland into a 45-minute region, new roads and a lever to head off our looming choking congestion.

The SEQ Council of Mayors proposed a Games bid to fast-track new roads and rail with a feasibility study which gathered momentum on the back of The Courier-Mail's Future SEQ campaign.

It was the projections showing billions of extra dollars that would pour into the state economy and another 129,000 jobs would be created that won over Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, who in December announced Queensland was going for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics,

The government's value proposition analysis showed 10,000 jobs were predicted from tourism alone.

Committed Olympics opponent Pauline Hanson - whose party vote collapsed at last month's state election - today called for the Queensland bid to be ditched, or at least put to a public vote.

 

"Hosting the Olympics 2032 will deliver (an) … economic nightmare for Queensland and Australia," Ms Hanson said.

"Do we want to leave a massive financial burden like this to our children? Shouldn't the Premier instead prioritise the delivery of a strong public health service, education, better water infrastructure, better roads, job creation and the like?

"Queenslanders voted to return the Premier primarily because "she kept us safe", but we also expect her to deliver those services into the future as well.

"It begs the question that Queenslanders must ask themselves: do you want the Olympics or do you want better Government services?

"That question should perhaps have been put to the Queensland people via a plebiscite on Election Day.

"We are dealing with a pandemic, our state debt is rising, unemployment is rising, and businesses are struggling. Now is not the time to look at funding costly non-essential items like the 2032 Olympics."

Originally published as What could stop Qld getting Olympics



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