Olympic feasibility has benefits for Ipswich

The Council of Mayors (SEQ) has welcomed Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s interest in a feasibility study being conducted by the group which will investigate a potential 2032 Olympic Games bid for South East Queensland.

Speaking today from Tokyo as part of a trade mission to Japan and the United States, the Premier acknowledged that the modern Olympic Games is changing and was keen to explore whether South East Queensland could still deliver a successful Games through a cost effective and scaled-down approach.

Eight South East Queensland councils are currently funding and participating in an Olympic feasibility study which will investigate whether a regional Olympic Games bid could be a catalyst for infrastructure and transport investment, boost the economy and raise the region’s international profile.

Council of Mayors (SEQ) Chair Cr Graham Quirk said the Mayors had embarked on their Olympic investigations based on the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) commitment to reform the bidding process, and believed that the region had enough existing facilities to mount an affordable Olympic Games bid.

“The Council of Mayors (SEQ) began investigating a South East Queensland Olympic Games bid in 2015, first through a pre-feasibility study and now with a complete feasibility and transport analysis,” he said.

“This is something we have been exploring thoroughly and we certainly welcome the Premier’s interest in our work.

“Through a regional bid, we have the opportunity to share the load of an Olympic Games across South East Queensland – using our many existing venues and temporary facilities to keep costs to a minimum and ensuring the maximum benefit is returned to the region.

“A survey of South East Queenslanders in 2016 showed that 62 per cent of people supported a possible Olympic bid and the ongoing support of the people is an essential ingredient.

“We believe the IOC would welcome an innovative and affordable Olympic Games model and that South East Queensland is an ideal location to demonstrate how this can be achieved. Ultimately, we would only endorse a bid that could demonstrate a strong benefit and lasting legacy for South East Queensland.”

The Council of Mayors (SEQ) released its pre-feasibility study into a South East Queensland Olympic Games in 2016, and is now delivering a transport and feasibility study for a potential 2032 Olympic Games bid for release later this year.

The IOC is currently reforming the Olympic Games bidding process to introduce a more cost effective model and work closely with potential hosts before committing to a formal bid.

A South East Queensland Olympic Games bid has already received in-principle support from the Australian Olympic Committee.

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The launch of a feasibility study into the prospect of a regional Olympic bid by Southeast Queensland has a number of foreseeable benefits to Ipswich.

When feasibility studies take place, they are looking at major infrastructure needs of the region – roads and public transport being two of the core areas for improvement.

Then, there are the facilities required to host Olympic events at an international standard. These leave legacy which the entire city can enjoy.

Ipswich is the fastest growing city in the region, and these types of events only help in our efforts to promote the region as an economic driver, a hub for innovation via our Smart City program, and a highly liveable environment.

We won’t be waiting until 2032 to showcase those things to the world. It’s happening now.

But a transport and feasibility study in preparation for an Olympic bid, which Ipswich is helping to fund, is certainly a great way to further highlight the infrastructure needs of the city. And if a successful Olympic campaign was to be the result, the opportunities to showcase our city to the world reach a new level.

I am excited to join other mayors in the region as we carefully assess our capabilities, and weigh up the potential benefits associated with launching such a campaign. Wayne Wendt

Acting mayor, Ipswich City Council

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