AOC chief: Olympics won’t cost Queenslanders a cent
RUNNING a southeast Queensland Olympics would cost taxpayers and ratepayers nothing and could even create a surplus, Olympics boss John Coates said in the wake of criticism from Pauline Hanson that regional Queensland could not afford the Games.
Australia's Olympics boss has requested a meeting with Senator Hanson to bring her up to speed on the costs of running a Queensland Games in 2032 after her party launched a billboard blitz calling for an end to the bid and for the money to be funnelled into regional development.
Olympic Committee chief John Coates said the One Nation senator had been citing an old Oxford University study to convince regional Queenslanders a Games bid was a waste of taxpayer money.
"Senator Pauline Hanson has recently questioned the potential of a Queensland Olympic Games on the basis of cost," Mr Coates said.
"But running a Queensland Games will be cost neutral, or even produce a surplus, thanks to changes by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)."
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.
In June, The Courier-Mail and sister SEQ mastheads officially backed the bid with front page editorials.
In December, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Queensland was going for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics, won over by projections showing billions of extra dollars would pour into the state economy and another 129,000 jobs would be created. The government's value proposition analysis showed 10,000 jobs were predicted from tourism alone, with half of all international event tourists tipped to visit regional Queensland, providing a $10 billion uplift.
Mr Coates has said staging the Games would be cost-neutral for the state, with US$2.3 billion ($A3.4 billion) to come from broadcast agreements and a minimum US$1.8 billion ($A2.7 billion) from the IOC to help stage the event.
"Known as 'The New Norm, these changes have made Games much cheaper to run, while delivering benefits that can last 20 years and beyond," Mr Coates said in an exclusive editorial for The Courier-Mail.
"I have offered to take Senator Hanson through them, including the IOC contributing around $2.5 billion towards the operating costs.
"When you add revenue from national sponsors and ticket sales, the operating costs of the Games themselves will not require any contribution from taxpayers or ratepayers. These games-changing benefits weren't available to previous Olympic hosts. The IOC wants hosts to use existing venues as much as possible, reduce venue sizes and ensure the Games fit in with Queensland, not the other way around.
"In the case of Brisbane and Queensland's candidature, we already have 85 per cent of the venues in place or planned. The benefits start 10 years before the Games' period and will last for another ten years to follow.
"Today's 10-year-old child will be an optimistic 22-year-old in 2032 - with real job opportunities, actively involved in sport and living in a thriving state with a vibrant economy."
Senator Hanson said she would sit down with the AOC.
"A briefing has been organised for later this month," Senator Hanson said.
A generation of potential sporting champions are already excited about the possibility of an SEQ 2032 Games.
Bodhi Dusha, 10, from Balmoral Cycling Club, said he "could race in front of my family and friends. We'd get a lot of support, it'd be so loud in the velodrome".
Churchie Rowing Club's Liam Ardrey, 17, said it would keep more Queensland children in sport.
"We will have a once-in-a -lifetime opportunity to truly perform at the highest level in our home town," Liam said.
Eastern Suburbs Football Club player Lucy Hubczenko, 11, said "to compete in the Olympics in the town I was born would be amazing and a dream come true".
A State Government report compiled after the Sydney 2000 Games showed the whole state benefited, with more than 179 teams and 2500 athletes from 48 countries trained from Cairns to Rockhampton, Bundaberg and the Gold and Sunshine Coast.