Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic Candidature “On Hold” as Australia Focuses on Loosening COVID-19 Shackles

BRISBANE OLYMPICS BID
RINGS OF CONFIDENCE: Brisbane's 2032 candidature on hold. Photo Courtesy 7 News QLD.

The Olympic Games has survived World Wars, boycotts, terror attacks and hopefully its Tokyo 2020 postponement with the movement continuing its battle of survival in the middle of the world wide COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

The major focus for Governments all over the world is surviving this pandemic and at the same time planning to re-ignite their economies.

But will the Games survive after the IOC postponed this year’s Tokyo Games until 2021?

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TOKYO TICKING: If Tokyo comes to a halt for a second time then cancellation the only option. Photo Courtesy: Reuters.

The Tokyo Games future remains one of the hottest topics of conversation with IOC president Thomas Bach confirming this week that if COVID-19 forces organisers to call a halt to the Games again then a second postponement is not an option – the Games would be cancelled.

And now the Australian 2032 bid has been placed on hold.

The news broke this morning that Australia’s 2032 bid for a third Games – for one of only two countries to attend every Games since 1896 – has been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.In a letter from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk tabled in the Queensland parliament on Friday, the Premier said the “candidature leadership group” had made the decision.

The group includes the State Government, the Federal Government, the southeast Queensland mayors and the Australian Olympic Committee.

Palaszczuk told The Australian newspaper “As Queensland’s and Australia’s focus has been placed on responding to coronavirus … (the group) agreed that the 2032 Games candidature discussions be put on hold until further notice,”

The Premier announced late last year that Queensland would bid to host the Games with the State becoming the first location to announce it would bid for the Games, under new rules that allow a region — rather than a city — to host the event with South East Queensland – in particular the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast as well as other regional areas would share the Games venues.

The AOC says it fully supports the Queensland Government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

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COATES CALL: AOC President John Coates has confirmed that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, Photo Courtesy: AAP.

AOC President John Coates has confirmed that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Mr Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members on March 31 that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

In his speech to the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9, Mr Coates advised that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address. The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis,” Mr Coates concluded.

And while Coates has said that hosting the 2032 Olympics could be what pulls the State out of an expected post-coronavirus recession – he has met with opposition from outspoken Queensland Independent Bob Katter.

Coates told the AOC’s annual general meeting the proposal for south-east Queensland to host the summer Olympics for the third time in 2032 “was gathering pace” while Katter says the bid should be scrapped as the State struggles with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis.

Katter has now labelled the bid “a waste of money and resources as thousands try to survive without work.”

“If it was a stupid idea to sink billions into a Brisbane Olympic games before COVID-19, then it is infinitely more stupid now,” Mr Katter told the Brisbane Times.

“Should we spend the next decade restarting a manufacturing sector, commencing nation-building infrastructure, and getting Australians back to work?”Or should we spend the next 10 years preparing for a two-week sporting event?”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Palaszczuk’s Government said it would mean 130,000 jobs for Queenslanders in the preparation stage and delivery of the international sporting event.

Ms Palaszczuk suggested it could deliver $7.4 billion in economic benefits for the state, with 3.2 billion people forecast to tune in.

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BID CITY: The bid, centred around Brisbane, had been given the official backing of the AOC in January. Photo Courtesy: Sports Digest.

The bid, centred around Brisbane, had been given the official backing of the AOC in January, and is now in the phase of “continuous dialogue” with the IOC’s Future Host Commission.

Coates said that “Planning for venues, mostly already existing or temporary, and planning for athletes villages were progressing and the necessary buy-in of local, state and national government was largely in place.“An Olympics could provide an economic catalyst to help Queensland and Australia out of the expected post-coronavirus recession.”

 

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