Gabba Olympics Showdown: Coates Declares Current Project Doesn’t ‘Stack Up’ for 2032 Games

Gabba Stadium 2032 Olympics Redevelopment
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In a surprising turn of events, Olympics powerbroker John Coates has advocated for the abandonment of the Gabba rebuild intended for the 2032 Games in Brisbane. The city is gearing up to host the Olympic Games in eight years, with various redevelopment projects in progress to prepare for this monumental sporting event.

The entire masterplan for the Olympic and Paralympic Games is currently undergoing a 60-day review, led by former Brisbane lord mayor Graham Quirk. This review aims to assess the spending on infrastructure, considering the scope of the planned redevelopments.

In a recent discussion with The Courier Mail, Mr. Coates revealed that he, along with Mr. Quirk and the review committee, deliberated on the contentious Gabba redevelopment.

“We’ve put it to the review committee we should abandon the Gabba and we should look for another site for the athletics,” stated Coates, emphasizing the need for reconsideration. The Olympic movement… was something that did have community support and was going to leave a great legacy for community and sport… now suddenly we’re on the nose in Brisbane.”

John Coates is recommending to abandon the 2023 Olympic Gabba plans
The Gabba Stadium Brisbane - Redevelopment Render Main Concourse ADR
Gabba Stadium Redevelopment Plans (Image: QLD State Gov)

Coates suggested alternative venues for Olympic events, proposing that the opening and closing ceremonies could be hosted at Suncorp Stadium, while athletics could find a home at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC), formerly known as QEII Stadium. He indicated possible upgrades for QSAC, including the demolition of grandstands to facilitate a cost-effective solution for track and field.

Backing Coates’ stance, Australian Olympic Committee president Ian Chesterman echoed his sentiments, calling for the abandonment of the Gabba project. Coates, also the vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, presented these alternative ideas for consideration.

President of the Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee, Andrew Liveris, expressed support for Coates’ opinions, emphasizing his understanding of the Games and accurate representation of the needs of Sporting Federations and athletes.

The major review into Brisbane Olympic Games infrastructure spending was announced by Queensland Premier Steven Miles earlier this year. This independent review aims to evaluate projects based on criteria such as fitness for purpose, deliverability, and community legacy.

While Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and then-Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sealed the $7 billion funding deal for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games last year, concerns about the escalating costs of venues have sparked a divisive issue in the Queensland community.

Premier Miles, commenting on the review, stated,

“Brisbane 2032 will be the best Olympic and Paralympic games ever, but I’m concerned that recently concerns about the costs of some venues have made it a divisive issue in the Queensland community, and I want to change that.”

In response to queries about the Gabba, Premier Miles expressed a preference for a “better value for money outcome” and welcomed the possibility of alternative solutions if recommended by the review. Early works on the Gabba are slated to commence in 2025, with the construction of the new stadium set to begin in 2026, aiming for completion by 2030.

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