BRISBANE, Australia — The government of Queensland, the north-eastern Australian state, will spend more than AUD 1 billion ($0.78 billion) for redeveloping the Gabba into the centerpiece of the 2032 Olympics if Brisbane wins the hosting rights.
After receiving state cabinet approval for the bid, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced on the Gabba will be the games’ proposed main stadium.
The capacity will be increased by 8,000 to 50,000 seats, and a new pedestrian plaza will link the stadium to the Cross River Rail station, which is under construction.
“We’ve hosted the Australian Football League here, we’ve hosted cricket here, but for the Olympics, this is front and center — opening and closing ceremonies, athletics, you name it, it’s going to be the best,” Palaszczuk said.
The Gabba was built in 1895 and has undergone two substantial renovations and refurbishments since 1993.
The last major redevelopment was completed in 2005 when a 24-bay grandstand was built for AUD 128 million ($99.5 million).
The Gabba’s public, corporate, and media facilities also received an AUD 35 million ($27.21 million) upgrade in 2020.
“We do need this, and it’s going to be utilized for the future, so they don’t want white elephants. They want workhorses, and the Gabba is a workhorse,” Palaszczuk said.
The International Olympics Committee named Brisbane as its preferred host city in February. But a final decision rests on detailed discussions with Games chiefs and critical commitments from the federal government.
Australian Olympics Committee president John Coates addressed the cabinet on April 19, where the Minister of Parliaments formally endorsed Brisbane’s candidacy.
“This is still contingent on guarantees that need to be received from the federal government,” Palaszczuk said.
She has discussed with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, and more talks will occur in the coming weeks.
“We are doing years and months of work in a concise time frame to meet the deadlines the International Olympics Committee has set us,” she said.
The state needed the boost the games would bring, including 130,000 jobs.
“It gives us hope after going through the pandemic. It gives us hope for the future,” the premier said.
Morrison is expected to have more to say on Queensland’s Olympic plans.
Last month, he told the International Olympics Committee that the Australian government was firmly behind Brisbane to host the games.
But Brisbane is not without rivals.
Earlier this month, South Korea said Seoul had submitted a proposal to host the 2032 games, despite Brisbane’s front-runner status.
(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria. Map by Urvashi Makwana)
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