2032 Games is ours for the taking
SOUTHEAST Queensland could be named as host of the 2032 Olympic Games as early as next year.
Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates will today tell politicians and tourism leaders that the greatest event in global sport is theirs to grab if they want it badly enough.
It comes as new research reveals the rest of the country is throwing its weight behind an SEQ bid, with two-thirds of Australians saying they would consider coming to the Sunshine State to attend events.
In today's keynote speech to The Courier-Mail's Future Tourism campaign lunch, Mr Coates will reveal that changes to International Olympic Committee rules, expected to be passed within a fortnight, open the door to the 2032 Games host being named at an IOC session, just days before the Tokyo Olympics next July.
"The election by the IOC for the host of 2032 would normally be taken seven years out, in 2025. But if the proposed changes are approved in 12 days' time - and there is a candidate ready to put their hand up - the decision could be as early as before the opening of the Tokyo Games on July 24," he said.
The IOC's new 2020 Agenda reforms open the bidding process to one of invitation, rather than tender.
"This is an opportunity," Mr Coates told The Courier-Mail. "This is a Games that is there to win. We have a history of hosting major sporting events and I hope, starting with the (Queensland) Government, that people will look enthusiastically at it."
He said that a decision would be needed by the end of this year for the AOC to "get all the ducks in a row" in the first half of 2020 to be able to make a formal bid.
An 11-year lead-up to an Olympics would have great benefits, both for the host area and for sports in their preparations. Mr Coates reinforced a pledge that the 2032 Games would pay for itself.
But he warned that a bid would go ahead only if there was a commitment by federal, state and local governments to provide critical transport infrastructure that the region needs to support its booming population growth.
"It is clear that without those investments, the proposal does not stand up. Conversely, it is clear that with those infrastructure investments an Olympic and Paralympic Games in southeast Queensland is feasible.
"They would guarantee a significant economic legacy even before the Games begin. That's needed and will bring jobs growth and economic growth," Mr Coates said.
A feasibility study, commissioned by the SEQ Council of Mayors found a "compelling" case to make a bid.
Chairman, Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner, said: "We want to be ready whenever the IOC is ready to make a decision. If everyone is on side, we want to move as quickly as possible."
The State Government has not yet committed to a bid, but The Courier-Mail can reveal that Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has agreed to travel to Switzerland later this year for further talks with IOC president Thomas Bach.
The Star Entertainment Group chairman John O'Neill said: "The stars just seem to be aligned. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity."
An exclusive nationwide survey for the peak industry body, Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF), showed 70 per cent of Australians agree or strongly agree that hosting the sporting spectacle in Queensland would be good for the country's tourism industry. And the Nielsen research of 1000 people reveals 66 per cent said they might come along to watch events if SEQ made a successful bid to stage the 2032 Games.
In Queensland, 76 per cent said they would definitely, probably or maybe consider attending Olympic events. NSW was almost as keen with 69 per cent and 61 per cent in Victoria. It follows a YouGov Galaxy statewide survey for The Courier-Mail last month showing that 65 per cent of Queenslanders back a bid.
TTF chief executive Margy Osmond said the results were really encouraging.
"Demonstrating national support is very important for the bidding process. Australians genuinely embrace big sporting events," she said.
Ms Osmond said there was a great opportunity to secure other events in the lead-up to an Olympics, both to build on the excitement and prepare the region as a host, although SEQ already had the strong advantage of hosting last year's Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
The SEQ Council of Mayors has asked the State Government to conduct a detailed analysis of the economic impacts that would flow from hosting an Olympics. While most events at a 2032 Olympics would be staged in the southeast corner, the benefits would be shared right across the state, with regional centres hosting teams in pre-Games training camps for months ahead, and the Olympic torch being carried through towns, as well as the visits from tourists attracted by global media coverage both before and after the event.
The official Queensland Government report of the effects of the Sydney Olympics in the Sunshine State put the direct benefit to businesses at $413 million - plus $700 million worth of ''destinational publicity". Our conducive climate meant more than 2500 athletes from 179 teams representing 45 countries completed their final preparations for Sydney in Queensland - more than even New South Wales.
"There is no doubt that Queensland would be in the prime seat to reap the economic tourism and social benefits of an SEQ Olympic Games," Local Government Association of Queensland president Mark Jamieson, said.