Queensland Olympics bid to drive post-COVID-19 recovery: AOC
Credit: Brisbane Times
By Gregg Baum May 26, 2020 — 2.53pm
Far from dampen Queensland’s 2032 Olympics bid, the coronavirus crisis can work in its favour as well as acting as driver of recovery for the state, the Australian Olympic Committee says.
AOC chief executive Matt Carroll says Queensland already has the edge on less advanced bids from Indonesia, India, Germany, Spain and, jointly, North and South Korea. “Queensland is ahead of the game. They can move very quickly,” Carroll said. “They’re already well down the track of master planning for the Games.
“The state government already has given the green light to pursue it. The other cities are talking about it, but they haven’t started their candidatures. Whether they do after this crisis, the IOC can make a decision by 2022. They’re no longer bound to (make a decision) seven years before a Games.”
The AOC and the Queensland government have put the bid on hold while the country negotiates a path through the crisis. Meantime, maverick north Queensland Federal MP Bob Katter has labelled it a waste of money and resources at the worst time
"If it was a stupid idea to sink billions into a Brisbane Olympic games before COVID-19, then it is infinitely more stupid now," Katter said.
But Carroll maintains that under new, slimline International Olympic Committee protocols, the Games themselves will be cost-neutral to Australia. Meantime, there would be a decade of new opportunities.
“On the other side of the crisis, we think the candidature has a role to play,” Carroll said. “There’s a 10-year runway. There’s the other major events that a thing like the Olympic Games will start to attract to Australia.”
Already locked in the women’s basketball world championships in Sydney and the world road cycling championships in Wollongong, both in 2022. Beyond, there’s the possibility of the women’s soccer World Cup in 2023 and the men’s rugby World Cup in 2027. Australia have made bids for both. “The Olympic Games is the icing on the cake in the end,” Carroll said.
Carroll said there would be immediate work in planning and tourism, and nearer to the time work in businesses providing services to the Games as well as at the Olympics themselves. Typically, he said, the host broadcaster employed 10,000 local people to produce the Olympics coverage. These would be spread across the state.
“If you think about it a different way, after the COVID-19 pandemic, the additional benefits and drivers are actually an incentive towards hosting the Games,” Carroll said.
“And hosting the Games is getting cheaper each time. The IOC is simplifying the Games.”
Host cities are now encouraged to use existing and temporary venues, smaller than previously. “The IOC now says, if you don’t need it in the future, don’t build it,” Carroll said. “Just do a temporary facility. You’ll see it in Tokyo [next year] and certainly in Paris and Los Angeles, hosts in 2024 and 2028.
Extras such as live sites are optional henceforth. “You can see the scale is being adjusted, and for good measure,” Carroll said.