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Queensland brings in heavies for grand final pitch

Credit:  Brisbane Times   By Caroline Wilson
August 19, 2020 — 7.23pm

The Queensland government has co-opted senior leaders from Gold Coast and the Brisbane Lions to prepare its bid to host the grand final, the first time it would be played outside Victoria in the game's history.

The government's grand final working party, established by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and chaired by Suns president Tony Cochrane, has also drafted Lions chairman Andrew Wellington, with the Suns' and Lions' chief executives Mark Evans and Greg Swann on board as advisors.

Mindful of offending its fellow Labor government and Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, who has not yet officially conceded the 2020 grand final is lost to Victoria, the Queensland grand final bid team has been working quietly behind the scenes to make its most compelling case to stage the biggest game of the season at the Gabba.

Queensland's AFL presentation has been slated for next week and the Cochrane-chaired bid must persuade AFL chief Gillon McLachlan and his Perth-based chairman Richard Goyder that any short-term economic benefits offered by the game's heartland state Western Australia and its strong corporate market would be matched by the long-term advantages presented by staging the 2020 play-off in a non-traditional football town.

Key members of McLachlan's executive – most of whom are now based in southern Queensland – have been backing the Gabba in the belief that the season could not have gone ahead without the support of Premier Palaszczuk and her government and health authority, which opened up its borders, creating special exemptions for AFL players, coaches umpires, staff and their families.

While Perth's Optus Stadium is larger and vastly superior, the WA Premier Mark McGowan has further complicated matters in recent days by declaring that the stadium could only admit 50 per cent of its crowd capacity (30,000 fans) if the game was played earlier than October 24. The Queensland working party is hopeful the Gabba could welcome also 30,000 spectators (75 per cent capacity of that stadium) by October 17, which is the other of the two most likely grand final dates.

Western Australia's border restrictions remain a further complication and the AFL remains unconvinced that would change in time for the grand final. A capacity Optus Stadium with all of its extended corporate benefits and public money would be worth close to $35 million for the competition, which has outlaid untold millions on the team hubs and whose commission chairman, Goyder, has placed debt reduction a first-order priority as the game looks towards rebuilding itself and its clubs post-COVID-19.

The financial benefits offered by Queensland remain unclear, but long-term game development involving the game from grassroots to AFL level could prove persuasive, along with the possibility the co-operation of Queensland's government could remain crucial should the pandemic continue to force further match relocations next season.

The grand final is expected to be played at night or twilight this year and the 14-member Cochrane-chaired working group also includes key Queensland tourism, police, health, sport and other government representatives, including Premier Palaszczuk's chief of staff.

Cochrane, who boasts a long history in event promotion and production, has worked closely with the Queensland Premier on a number of projects through his International Events Consulting. The co-creator and long-time executive chairman of the Supercars, he has also boasts a string of music and theatrical credits including a Tony Award for the Broadway musical Hairspray, which he co-produced.

He would not elaborate upon the Queensland bid when contacted, saying it would be disrespectful to the Victorian government. "As far as we're concerned the grand final is a Victorian event," said Cochrane. "It will be held in Victoria and we are not prepared to discuss this unless that changes."

The grand final bidding process is being run by executive Travis Auld, who is expected to take submissions from South Australia and New South Wales. The AFL is also expected to decide over the coming week to 10 days where and when to stage the Brownlow Medal count, whether to hold a post home-and-away season bye and whether to offer higher-placed finals teams the choice of finals venues across Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Adelaide.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Gabba AFL grand final is a milestone moment for Queensland and for Gillon McLachlan, who puts heart over head

Credit:  ABC News Australia

By Dean Bilton

2 September 2020, 2:26pm

Welcome to sunny Queensland, home of the Great Barrier Reef, Wally Lewis and the 2020 AFL grand final.

A protracted process has reached its inevitable end, with the AFL officially awarding its coveted decider to Brisbane and the Gabba, taking the grand final out of Melbourne for the first time in VFL/AFL history.

This season of turmoil, reflecting and punctuating a year like no other, will end in a manner not a single person could have predicted even nine months ago: under the Gabba lights on October 24.

Even now it feels strange to contemplate, and generally speaking, we've become pretty good at recalibrating with the unimaginable this year. 

Even though Queensland has been an unbackable favourite throughout this bidding process, what we will all experience on AFL grand final night will be as foreign and unfamiliar as the words "AFL grand final night".

But perhaps the only thing stranger than the end result was the process that led to it, a process which saw the AFL shed its skin as an empirical corporate juggernaut and take the side of sentimentality.

In 2020, the tin man has grown a heart.

There were clearly many factors behind the decision to award the grand final to Queensland, but at the forefront was always a sense of gratitude and justice to the state for its service to the game in 2020.

The same lines would be echoed whenever the topic came up: "there wouldn't have even been a season without Queensland" and "it just wouldn't be right to have it anywhere else" prevailing throughout.

If fact, chief executive Gillon McLachlan basically went so far as to confirm that was the deciding factor between the Brisbane and Adelaide — which is on standby should Queensland's rona situation deteriorate — bids.

"I think, in the end, in Queensland there was a view around the industry that given all the work they had done to help us, with so many teams based up here, that that is probably the overriding factor," McLachlan said.

As an afterthought, he added, "they were strong in all areas".

Of course, there was more to this call than simply wanting to thank Annastacia Palaszczuk and co for helping them out of a jam.

Expansion remains the AFL's white whale, and the success of the game in Queensland and New South Wales has been at the forefront of so many league decisions over the last decade.

This season represents an opportunity like no other for Australian rules football to gain a foothold in Queensland.

Despite reports of an increase in TV viewership in the state, there has been no sudden surge in Sherrin ownership in Brisbane in 2020 — the talk of the town remains the struggling Broncos, the also-struggling Cowboys and Titans, and where Cameron Smith will play next season.

Will hosting a grand final change that? The AFL suggests it will and if the Lions happen to reach or even win said grand final, it may be right.

But even still it paints a picture of a decision based on intangibles, of taking a punt on a bit of a dark horse and relenting to the vibe of it all.

Because when you put it all down on paper, and go over the respective bids based on the sorts of metrics the AFL itself has traditionally used, there isn't a whole lot in Brisbane's favour.

If the half-hearted annual debate about the MCG's permanent claim to the grand final and its implications for the integrity of the competition has taught us nothing, it's that nothing short of a pandemic is going to take that game away from that city.

The justification given is pretty consistent too. Firstly, there's a contract in place. But beyond that, you have to play the grand final at the MCG because it's the biggest and best stadium in Australia, which helps the AFL pull in stupid amounts of money each year, and is the true traditional heartland of the game.

Had the AFL applied those same parameters to this decision, McLachlan would not have been proclaiming Brisbane the victor this afternoon.

That contractual obligation has, for obvious reasons, been voided for this one year, but if the AFL's priority really was bringing in the biggest crowd and the most money possible, in the best and most modern stadium available and in a traditional footy location, the grand final would be in Perth or Adelaide.

Add in the fact that both WA and SA are in better situations COVID-wise than Queensland, and their weather conditions in late October will be far more footy-friendly, the logical, black and white case becomes inconveniently simple.

Now, none of this is to say the AFL has made a wrong or poor decision. Far from it — a Brisbane grand final is more than defensible and in the case of WA, the border situation would make things trickier (but still very possible.

It's just a different kind of decision, one that perhaps the AFL would not have made even 12 months ago. It speaks to the collective trauma the game has been through this season — miniscule when put in a wider perspective but still significant for one of the country's largest industries — that sentiment would be allowed to even enter the equation.

All year, McLachlan has spoken of the need to be "flexible and agile", but perhaps he can now extend his mantra to add "fair". At the end of the day, the feeling that playing the grand final in Brisbane is the most fair outcome has won the day.

It's an admirable position to take. The next challenge is keeping that ethos alive.

If McLachlan and the AFL are able to take that forward into post-corona times, and are able to govern the game with flexibility and fairness at the forefront, even the states who have today missed out will be better for it in the long run.



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Queensland works on two Fast Rail cases

 Credit:  Brisbane Times   by Tony Moore  September 2, 2020 — 8.03pm

The Queensland government is working on two separate business cases for futuristic 160km/h Fast Rail links in the state's south-east.

The first business case is a proposed link between Maroochydore and Nambour on the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.

The second proposes a link between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Under the Fast Rail concept, conventional trains with modifications would traverse railway tracks at speeds up to 160km/h, similar to Queensland’s Tilt Train speeds.

The trains would be slower than the High Speed Rail concept being floated separately by federal MPs, an idea similar to Japan’s 300km/h bullet trains.

The first $10 million Fast Rail business case, being promoted by Sunshine Coast federal MP Ted O’Brien, is being evaluated by Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads.

It has been developed by LNP federal ministers on the Sunshine Coast with a consortium of large developers including SMEC, Stockland, Urbis and KPMG, all of whom have major residential projects on the Sunshine Coast.

The state government has evaluated other Sunshine Coast rail line projects - worth $790 million - which would be upgraded and used in the Fast Rail concept.

The second $22 million business case examines a link between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

This business case, established in February and expected to be finished in late 2022, has attracted $14 million in contributions from the Queensland government and $8 million from the federal government.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said while considerable work was being done to evaluate Fast Rail, moving beyond business case concepts depended on substantial funding from the federal government.

“We all know Fast Rail technology is expensive,” Mr Bailey said.

“That is why any move in that direction would need to involve a substantial federal government commitment.”

Mr Bailey said the Queensland government was forced to fund Brisbane’s $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project – which will provide better rail links between the Gold and Sunshine coasts – with no help from the federal government.

“Cross River Rail is a really important part of getting a faster rail network and we are building that now,” Mr Bailey said.

“We have 20 per cent of it built already.

“So there is a lot of work being done in this space already.

“Getting the preparation work for the next phase [Fast Rail] is important, but Cross River Rail, when it opens, will cut travel time for people particularly on the Gold and Sunshine Coast lines by more than 10 minutes.”

South-east Queensland’s Council of Mayors has continually floated a faster rail network as important to remove congestion.

More than 18 months ago the Council of Mayors released a mass transit ideas forum where a suite of futuristic transport projects were canvassed.

Collectively those projects, some of which were under way, had a value of $64 billion.

However, there has only been road funding announced from the federal government since May 2019, with the likelihood of larger funding promises stalled by the delay in the South East Queensland City Deal in July 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic.


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Mayors propose ambitious Fast Rail legacy project for south-east

Credit: Brisbane Times
 By Tony Moore        September 5, 2020 — 10.00pm
South-east Queensland's mayors are hoping to use the proposed Fast Rail network as a legacy project that will boost the state's post-COVID recovery and link regional areas to Brisbane.

The first business case of a Fast Rail line between Maroochydore and Brisbane is now being evaluated by Queensland's Transport Department, and a second business case – for a line between Brisbane and the Gold Coast – will be completed by late 2022.

But a third proposal for Fast Rail between a regional centre and Brisbane – this time from Toowoomba – is also under way.

The SEQ Council of Mayors hope the Fast Rail proposals can build on opportunities presented by Brisbane's underground Cross River Rail.

The Queensland government is fully funding the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project, which will improve links between the Sunshine and Gold coasts by giving trains an urgently needed second route across the Brisbane River.

Fast Rail - what are they talking about?

  • The New Generation Rollingstock - the new trains - have an average running speed of approximately 60km/h and a top speed of 140km/h.
  • At these speeds, Citytrain is too slow to offer commuters in the outer rings of south-east Queensland a reason to leave their cars behind and use public transport.
  • The south-east Queensland Fast Rail network would operate at speeds of 160km/h or more and deliver significant travel time savings compared to the Citytrain network.
  • This is not high-speed rail or the bullet trains that operate in excess of 250km/h.
  • The broad plan is to be able to link anywhere in south-east Queensland within 45 minutes.
  • The cost of adding a Fast Train network to the Citytrain network would be in the tens of billions, but this could be offset by benefits to the Olympics and future tourism.
  • Source: South-east Queensland Council of Mayors Fast Train Network bid

Cross River Rail will also provide two new stations – Boggo Road and Roma Street – where a future Fast Rail network could meet both the existing suburban rail network and Brisbane City Council's Metro bus lines.

This would enable passengers at the new stations to switch "modes" from Fast Rail – if travelling from Toowoomba, the Gold or Sunshine coasts – to suburban rail lines, connected by Cross River Rail, or to Brisbane's Metro.

Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio supported the idea on Friday, pointing out that the region was growing quickly and that city's Wellcamp Airport made Toowoomba a viable freight hub.

"From Ipswich through the Lockyer Valley to Toowoomba, we will see significant population growth in the western corridor in the coming decades," Cr Antonio said.

"The Commonwealth has committed $15 million to investigate passenger rail between Brisbane and Toowoomba.

"Fast Rail should be a genuine consideration to ensure we are planning for the region’s growth.

"When we look back at COVID-19 and the billions of dollars spent, what will our legacy be?

"We hope it will be a Fast Rail network that will serve the south-east for decades to come."

South-east Queensland has long been recognised as a population – and congestion – growth zone as people shun public transport in favour of cars.

This Friday, the SEQ Council of Mayors will again raise a Fast Rail network in the south-east when it seeks a genuine exploration of the concept, to be delivered in partnership with the Commonwealth and industry.

Funding for the long-term project between all three levels of government is expected to be revisited in 2021.

South-east Queensland's mayors are talking about a "broader picture" – a 160km/h Fast Train transport spine – similar to what has happened on the Gold Coast with the G-Link light rail.

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson, a director of the SEQ Council of Mayors and president of the Local Government Association of Queensland, said his council had radically upgraded the Maroochydore Airport, pitching its future in freight and tourism.

Now he believes Fast Rail is the "future connector".

"Fast Rail has the potential to create a fast and efficient spine for the south-east’s public transport network, allowing residents and tourists to travel more efficiently throughout the region," Cr Jamieson said.

"Commuters are not the only users of our transport system. Fast and user-friendly public transport across the region would increase our offering to domestic and international tourists, encouraging them to stay longer and spend more in south-east Queensland.

"Imagine being able to step onto the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit system in Maroochydore, connect to Fast Rail at Kawana, and step off in Toowoomba – all through an integrated, fast and efficient public transport network.

"It would be a game-changer for the Sunshine Coast and south-east Queensland."

Redland City mayor Karen Williams, treasurer of the SEQ Council of Mayors, says Fast Rail is a 20-year project.

It has the potential to create tens of thousands of jobs across a 20-year delivery horizon," she said.

"When you compare the cost of Fast Rail against its social, environmental and economic benefits, the proposition is compelling and should prompt serious consideration for the state government.

"The conversation can no longer be about shovel-ready projects, we need to start investigating shovel-worthy projects that have the power to kickstart the Queensland economy.

"Fast Rail is one of those projects.

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New fast rail push to get SEQ's post-COVID recovery on track

Credit: Brisbane Times

By Tony Moore
September 12, 2020 — 12.00am

The Wagner Corporation built an airport for Toowoomba in 18 months when it realised it was taking too long for its customers' goods to get to Brisbane.

Toowoomba's Wellcamp Airport was the first Australian airport built on a greenfield site since Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport, 47 years earlier.

Now Denis Wagner wants to be part of Queensland’s push towards fast rail, where trains travelling 160km/h link cities and decentralise south-east Queensland.

The idea is to allow people to live in one part of south-east Queensland and work in another, joined by a 45-minute rail journey.

South-east Queensland’s mayors believe the Citytrain network will be too slow for the region's future, which is expected to be home to more than 5.3 million people in 20 years.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 150,000 passengers each year took advantage of the 24 weekly flights from Toowoomba. Increasing levels of freight, the primary reason for the airport's construction, is still travelling from Toowoomba to Hong Kong and Singapore.

Mr Wagner argues fast rail planning should begin now. The broad picture is to link the cities with south-east Queensland’s four airports — Sunshine Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane and the Gold Coast — with fast rail.

The Queensland government’s $5.4 billion underground Cross River Rail is the connecting glue between fast rail and the Citytrain suburban network.

"Let’s plan over the course of the next four, five years, 10 years to build it, whatever it takes," Mr Wagner said.

"The $15 million business case – from Brisbane to Toowoomba - will determine the appropriate time to build it."

Fast rail is firmly on the agenda of the Queensland and Australian governments.

The Queensland government is now part of three fast rail business cases: the North Coast Connect concept, linking Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast; the $8 million Brisbane-Gold Coast concept; and the more recent Brisbane-Toowoomba concept, for which the Australian government has brought forward $15 million.

The Queensland government is wary of being left with a big financial burden, given talk of capturing money from increasing land values never eventuated with Cross River Rail and the federal government left Queensland to fund the $5.4 billion rail project itself.

Brisbane lord mayor Adrian Schrinner, who chairs the Council of Mayors (South East Queensland), said resolving fast rail funding was "down the track".

"This is not about signing a blank cheque. This is about doing the planning and getting it right," Cr Schrinner said.

On Friday, all of south-east Queensland’s mayors turned up to ask the Queensland government for more direct input to the three business cases.

Mr Wagner said his company had no input into the Brisbane-Toowoomba business case, despite its infrastructure experience.

"We would like to have that input through our local council and certainly the input needs to come through the local community’s industry forums," he said.

"But one of the challenges is that we need the state government to come on board and make sure it is a very cohesive approach."

There is also the expected politics before the Queensland election on October 31.

The Council of Mayors released ReachTel polling of 2100 residents in the south-east on Friday, which showed 81.4 per cent believed a fast rail network would reduce congestion in south-east Queensland.

Just more than 55 per cent said it might influence their vote at the election.

Cr Schrinner said he understood most people were only thinking of getting through the next months of the pandemic.

"But I have no doubt that there will be more people moving to our region because of COVID," he said.

"People from Melbourne we are already hearing are wanting to come and live in our region because of the great lifestyle and economic opportunities we have got here, but unless we invest in better transport, liveability will suffer."

The mayors have argued for fast rail to be advanced in south-east Queensland as an Olympics 2032 bid was made in December 2019.

Cr Schrinner said he had asked Transport Minister Mark Bailey and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to be included in the planning process, but that local governments were still excluded.

"At the moment we are being completely locked out of this process and that means the people of south-east Queensland are being locked out of this process," he said.

The mayors believe that without having direct input to the business cases, the Queensland government will recommend some minor improvements to the Citytrain network.

Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio said: "We don't want this study to be done by bureaucrats in Brisbane.

"We want it to be broad and include the business community of the whole corridor; that is Ipswich, the Lockyer Valley and ourselves to get the best outcome for our community."

He said the freight-based Melbourne-Brisbane Inland Rail project and a proposed fast rail connection should share the same proposed rail tunnel near Toowoomba.

"Obviously if you build this [fast] rail line and you want to build the freight line [Inland Rail] there will have to be a tunnel over six kilometres long through the Toowoomba range," he said.

"I think there would be synergy there – and save a fair bit of money – if both projects used the same tunnel."

Sunshine Coast mayor Mark Jamieson said the LNP-financed North Coast Connect business case – Queensland's first business case on a fast rail network – did advocate changes to the existing Sunshine Coast rail line, which was laid in the 1890s.

"Between Nambour and Beerburrum it is still a single line and it's one of the biggest choke points in the whole Queensland rail system," he said.

The road alternative, the ever-expanding Bruce Highway, was choked regularly.

"The answer is not building additional (road) lanes," he said.

"The answer is putting in an effective fast rail network that would earn the community's confidence about how they could travel more easily between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast."

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Is Brisbane 2032 calling for Swimming Australia boss John Bertrand?

Credit:   Sydney Morning Herald

By Phil Lutton  September 11, 2020 — 5.17pm
Outgoing Swimming Australia president John Bertrand wants his next move to be one of national significance, opening up the possibility of the America's Cup hero playing a part in Queensland's efforts to host the Olympic Games in 2032.

Bertrand will step aside from his role after seven years at the helm of SA, helping oversee its resurgence from the drama of London 2012 to a strong position ahead of next year's rescheduled Games in Tokyo, where the Dolphins will be led by Olympic champions Kyle Chalmers and Mack Horton and world champion Ariarne Titmus.

It has been tumultuous at times, not the least when freestyler Shayna Jack returned a positive doping test in the midst of the FINA World Championships in South Korea last year, but Bertrand believes the organisation has regained its lustre at the head of Australia's most lucrative Olympic sport.

"It’s been a real privilege and honour to be involved," Bertrand said. "When I first got involved, the place was pretty dysfunctional, to be honest. A lot of leaking, a lot of mistrust. We made major, major changes.

"We had to and the bottom line is, trust is the glue of any organisation. The level of trust is dramatically higher than when I got involved."

Bertrand has numerous irons in a variety of fires. He's the chair of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and until recently headed The Alannah & Madeline Foundation, a children's charity established in the wake of the Port Arthur tragedy.

He's in no rush to dive into a new project but wants it to be one that leaves a legacy and has some impact on the nation, which he felt was the case when he helped to engineer the turnaround at Swimming Australia.

"I looked at the organisation coming out of London and there was turmoil and a lot of issues, both internally and externally. And I felt this was of national importance. From my perspective, the two organisations that are fundamentally important to the nation’s sporting psyche are the Australian cricket team and, every four years, the Australian swimming team.

"In the future, I don’t know what the next project is but whatever it is, I’d like to think it’s of significance to the country and I can add value accordingly. Whether that is in sport or another area, I’m not sure yet."

In that case, the 2032 Olympics loom large. Queensland's bid has been put on hold amid the financial constraints of the pandemic, but it remains a firm favourite to claim hosting rights, which could be announced as early as 2022.

Bertrand said there had been no formal contact but after being involved at two Games as a competitor, in Sydney as an athlete mentor and in Rio through his role at the head of SA, he made it clear he believed it would be an opportunity to savour.

"There's a whole range of opportunities. But let me just say, to have an Olympic Games in Brisbane in 2032 – in my opinion – would be terrific. It’s fundamental for us as human beings to have something to look forward to, both as individuals and as a nation," Bertrand said.

"We reflect on the Sydney Olympics and how successful that was and the stories continue to go on. It raised our profile as a nation. If they were able to pull that off, the Queensland Government, that would be a big one."

Bertrand joined Sebastion Coe, the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) for a webcast on the future of sport on Thursday night and said athletes should expect significant changes should the Tokyo Games be held as planned in 2021.

Should they even take place, he believes they would be one of the most memorable in history, and said there would be no shine off the medals even if the events took place in front of sparse or empty stands.

When I started at SA, I had no no intimate knowledge of the sport, even though I had been involved in high performance teams over the years, particularly with the America’s Cup.

"If there are no crowds, from my perspective, it doesn’t matter. The Olympics are the 

Olympics. It will in my opinion be one of the greatest Olympics ever. The fact an Olympics Games will be able to be held, a celebration of people giving it a go at the highset level, people will talk about it for the rest of their lives," Bertrand said.

SA announced on Friday that next year's Australian Swimming Championships, a key hit-out in the Olympic lead-up, would be held on the Gold Coast in April next year as part of the revamped competition calendar.


( >> Thanks for this finding this SMH article Victorian!  )

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Two Brisbane ferry terminals closer to reality after contract awarded

Credit: Brisbane Times
By Lucy Stone September 13, 2020 — 9.37pm


Brisbane City Council has awarded a $25 million contract to a single supplier to build a ferry terminal at Howard Smith Wharves and upgrade the South Bank ferry terminal.

The contract came before council on Tuesday with an amendment to give priority to local fabrication when evaluating the bids as part of council's efforts to support local business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The South Bank ferry terminal upgrade will combine all ferry services, including CityCats and the smaller monohulled ferries, into one terminal covering the existing two berths.

The Howard Smith Wharves terminal, co-funded with HSW Nominees and the Fantauzzo group, with a $3 million contribution, will allow for dual berthing of CityCats and have the ability to berth monohulls.

Fitzgerald Construction Australia won the tender to build both terminals at a cost of more than $25 million.

Council heard Fitzgerald put forward offers with different construction methods. The winning bid proposed fabrication at Brisbane and Ipswich.

Off-site fabrication for Howard Smith Wharves will begin this year and on-site construction in early 2021. Work on the South Bank terminal will begin in mid to late 2021.

Council noted that opting for a local bid would reduce the risk of supply-chain interruptions or problems further down the line.

The state government also recently announced a plan to install three pontoons at Howard Smith Wharves, developing a partnership for direct ferry trips from there to Stradbroke Island.


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Coates Defends Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic Bid Budget Amid Scathing Independent Report

Credit: Gamesbids

Posted on Sep 16, 2020 12:52 PM by Robert Livingstone in Featured, Future Summer Bids

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates reaffirmed Tuesday that a Brisbane-based bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games would remain cost-neutral and without major risks.

Coates, who is also Vice President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), was forced to defend the bid’s budget on the heels of a scathing report from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School that claims the Olympics go over budget on average by 172 percent.  He denied the accuracy of the report and maintained that the IOC contributes billions of dollars to the organization of the Games.

“The minimum figure we’ve been told the IOC will provide for a Brisbane Games – and this is the basis upon which the Queensland government did their value propositions – is [AUD] $2.5 billion,” Coates told Australian Financial Review following a torch lighting ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the opening of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

“That’s how on the budgeting of $4.5 billion, the early budgeting for Brisbane – before we bring in the simplification measures and other efficiencies that we’re dealing with – that’s what gets you to a break-even position,” he said.

Coates and other IOC members dismissed the report Why the Olympics Blow Up last week pointing to the authors’ mixing of capital infrastructure costs with actual organizing costs – and ignoring the value of the legacy.  But the report writers shot back in an open letter this week, indicating that their accounting was sound and underlining that the IOC burdens the host city with all financial risks.

“For clarification, we do the exact opposite of what the IOC claims we do: our numbers include only the direct sports-related costs of the Games,” Professor Bent Flyvbjerg of Saïd Business School wrote.

“The wider infrastructure budgets of the city, region and country – which, as you know, are often several times higher than the sports-related costs – are left entirely out of our numbers.”

Flyvbjerg then challenged the IOC to back up their claims.

Similar reports of blown Olympic budgets have emerged in the past and in some cases have resulted in the cancellation of promising bids.  In 2016 the mayor of Rome shelved the Capital’s bid to host in 2024, citing a similar study as the basis of her decision.

Now, with the Tokyo 2020 Games delayed by a year amid the COVID-19 health crisis, and the likelihood that organizing costs will continue to grow – the need for the IOC to shoulder some of the financial burden is being highlighted.

Brisbane’s bid was the first to officially launch in January, positioning Australia’s entry as the front runner.  In May, Queensland’s Premier put the bid on hold to instead focus on the emerging pandemic.

Also organizing or considering bids are India, Indonesia, Germany, Spain, Qatar, Turkey and North and South Korea.  The IOC has not set a timeline for the election of the 2032 host but it is not likely that a winner will be named before 2022.


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  • 3 weeks later...


Queensland stadiums running on empty with 1.6 million fewer bums on seats

 Credit: Brisbane Times  By Lucy Stone October 7, 2020 — 7.53pm


Queensland's stadiums welcomed 1.6 million fewer patrons over 2019-20, and recorded a $9 million operating loss in a year of "highs and lows".

Stadiums Queensland's annual report, tabled in Parliament last week, noted the cost of managing events rose because of the additional COVID-19 regulations and hygiene requirements, while its expenses rose because of "maintaining large depreciating venues".

Across the year, stadiums welcomed 2.6 million patrons, down from 4.2 million in 2018-19.

But it wasn't all bad news, with Queensland leading the nation in reopening venues and becoming Australia's "sports mecca", hosting all the major sports codes in the first games post-lockdown.

Stadiums Queensland chairwoman Cathy McGuane wrote in the report that the entertainment sector had been hit hard and would continue to struggle with the uncertainty around international music and event tours.

"Major events make a large contribution to the Queensland economy, pumping an estimated $800 million into the economy last financial year, with approximately $355 million in economic benefit from our venues from regular season fixtures alone," Ms McGuane wrote.

"This year is different, and the effects of the pandemic on the economy, though widely speculated, remain unknown."

The year began promisingly with major events such as the Queen + Adam Lambert concert drawing almost 40,000 patrons at Suncorp Stadium in Milton and the U2 concert at the same stadium bringing about 46,000 people.

Almost 92,000 tennis aficionados enjoyed the Brisbane International and the ATP Cup, and thousands farewelled Townsville's Queensland Country Bank Stadium with the Cowboys playing a final game against the Bulldogs.

But the lockdown had a major effect, with the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in Boondall likely to suffer the most in the coming months. Ms McGuane noted the BEC was "expected to be severely impacted by the lack of international travel, and thus international touring acts, for which there remains no estimated return date".

Patronage at the BEC halved from 815,866 in 2018-19 to just 413,273, with major international acts such as Tool, Elton John, Hugh Jackman and Fleetwood Mac bringing thousands to Boondall.

The Gabba fared slightly better, with 394,654 patrons across the year, down from 506,931 the year before, while hosting AFL fixtures.

Suncorp Stadium, however, logged the biggest drop in patronage, down from just over 1 million in 2018-19 to just 417,535 this financial year.

As of June 30, the report noted more than 28,000 people returned to stadiums for games across codes.

Ms McGuane wrote that despite the devastating effects of COVID and the mass cancellations, Stadiums Queensland still managed to add an extra 118 events to the calendar.

"Re-opening our venues has not only provided a glimmer of hope and sense of normality in troubled times, but also ensured ongoing employment for those associated with the events," she wrote.

The shutdown did have some other benefits as maintenance work on several stadiums could be completed without having to stage events around it, the annual report noted.

The Gabba's $35 million upgrade was on schedule for completion in October, while it also hosted thousands of AFL fans enjoying the unprecedented number of matches played in Queensland.

And a ski-jump training facility at the Sleeman Sports Complex will also be completed in coming weeks, ready for national and international ski teams to train ahead of the Winter Olympics.

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I find terms like ''9 million operating loss'' a bit misleading- they had an operating cost of 9 million. All public facilities, whether it is a road, park, beach, fountain etc have an operating cost. You dont say your local park had an operating loss of 1 million last year, it just cost a million for upkeep and maintenance.

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Council unveils new fly-through of Kangaroo Pt Bridge

Credit: Brisbane Development

August 18, 2020

Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has announced the start of the green bridge procurement process, as early works ramp up at Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek, and Council kicks off consultation on design of the $257 million projects.

“We have fast-tracked these new bridges because they’re major job drivers, which is critical as we climb our way out of the coronavirus economic crisis,” Cr Schrinner said.

“Our city has sustained a brutal economic hit this year, but my administration is determined that we build for the future. This means we get people into work now and critical infrastructure projects like these bridges are how we do that.

“Kicking off this procurement process quickly is also about breathing life into the local construction industry and expanding supplier opportunities for struggling businesses,” Cr Schrinner said.


At its peak, the two fast-tracked bridges will employ more than 500 people.

Council will hold an industry briefing session on Friday, before an Expressions of Interest (EOI) process starts in mid-September.

At Kangaroo Point, early works including geotechnical drilling, ground and hydrographic surveys have been underway since April.

“The Green Bridges Program is a milestone in our city’s construction history, so we are looking to attract expertise to help us deliver this landmark infrastructure,” Cr Schrinner said.

“They will be prominent, iconic landmarks, providing safe and convenient connections for pedestrians and cyclists between the south and north sides of the Brisbane River,” Cr Schrinner said.

Cr Schrinner said the proposed designs of the Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek green bridges would be released for consultation for a month.

The Breakfast Creek green bridge will include an extension to the Lores Bonney Riverwalk, which carries 2700 pedestrians and cyclists every day.

“Community feedback plays a crucial role in developing each bridge, and I encourage residents to have their say on the latest designs of the Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek green bridges,” Cr Schrinner said.

New 3D images of the planned Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek green bridges reveal in vivid detail the structures set to transform the city’s riverscape.

The Breakfast Creek green bridge will include an extension to the Lores Bonney Riverwalk, which carries 2700 pedestrians and cyclists every day.

“Community feedback plays a crucial role in developing each bridge, and I encourage residents to have their say on the latest designs of the Kangaroo Point and Breakfast Creek green bridges,” Cr Schrinner said.

Residents and stakeholders can provide feedback on the landing arrangements, viewing points, connections to the active and public transport networks, landscaping and urban design elements.

This feedback will help inform Council’s final design for each bridge ahead of construction starting in 2021, subject to approvals.


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Coates claims foreign relations bill amendment could harm athletes and destroy Brisbane's Olympic bid

Credit:  InsideTheGames

By Michael Pavitt  Friday, 16 October 2020

Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates has claimed an amendment to the Federal Government’s new foreign relations legislation could make athletes political pawns and "destroy" Brisbane’s bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games.

The AOC submitted comments related to the Australian Foreign Relations (State and Territory) Arrangements Bill 2020, with the organisation saying it was particularly interested to respond to independent Senator Rex Patrick.

Patrick announced earlier this month that he would submit an amendment to the bill to "ensure the activities of the AOC are consistent with Australia’s support for internationally recognised human rights and fundamental democratic freedoms".

Patrick, a senator for South Australia, says the amendment was prompted by the upcoming Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, which he has called for athletes and the AOC to boycott.

"Although the AOC is an independent incorporated organisation its activities play a prominent part in Australia’s international profile," Senator Patrick said.

"The Olympic Games are occasions of considerable international significance and political importance for host countries; and Australia’s participation should at all times be consistent with national values including fundamental human rights and democratic freedoms.

"Dictatorial and authoritarian regimes crave the spectacle and supposed legitimacy conferred by major sporting events, the Olympic Games especially.

"Chinese President Xi is looking forward to the 2022 Beijing Games as a massive propaganda spectacle that will whitewash gross human rights violations including genocidal policies directed at the Uyghur people of Western China, the suppression of fundamental freedoms across China including Hong Kong and the arbitrary detention of Australian citizens on bogus national security charges.

"My proposed amendment to the Foreign Relations Bill will ensure that the Australian Government has clear authority to oversee the activities of the AOC as far as they relate to Australia’s foreign relations including support for human rights.

"If the Federal Government can oversee the international arrangements of state governments, local governments and universities, it should definitely be empowered to supervise the AOC."

Coates has claimed the passing of such an amendment would have a series of consequences for Australian athletes, the AOC and the Brisbane’s bid for the Olympic Games.

The AOC President called on politicians to learn from the boycotts of the Moscow 1980 and Los Angeles 1984 Olympic Games, saying that there was a risk of athletes being used at political pawns.

"A position for or against a boycott of Beijing 2022 by the AOC is not a position on human rights, but on how human rights concerns should be advanced in a global environment," Coates wrote.

"There are a wide range of options available to nation states like Australia to express concern about the conduct of others.

"The merit of boycotting a single sporting event, in circumstances where sport, and the Olympic Games in particular, has a unique capacity to bring countries together in peaceful competition, promoting dialogue, is questionable and also risks being counter-productive.

"It is also important to note that sending a team of Australian athletes to Beijing 2022 does not preclude the Australian government, individual politicians and/or individual athletes from separately taking any political or diplomatic action they choose in relation to the event.

"By way of example only, it is open to the Federal Government Ministers invited to attend the Games to decline that invitation."

Coates suggested the potential amendment could see the AOC’s recognition be suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), due to rules over Government interference.

The IOC vice-president said a suspension would destroy Brisbane’s bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.

"Brisbane's candidature to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games is well advanced," Coates, also an IOC vice-president, wrote.

"The bid to host has the support of the Federal Government, Queensland Government and Council of Mayors of South-East Queensland, and of the major opposition parties at each level.

"The AOC has provided its approval of the Brisbane candidature to the IOC under by-law 1.1 to rule 33 of the Charter.

"The AOC submits that any suspension of the AOC arising from the Bill or any boycott will effectively terminate that candidature.

"The AOC believes that Australia's ability to participate in the Olympic Movement will be severely compromised if Senator Patrick's proposed amendment to the Bill passes.

"The AOC does not support the proposed amendment."

Officials in countries including the United States and the United Kingdom have also suggested a boycott of the Games in protest at China's alleged abuses of human rights.

A British boycott would likely consist of politicians and dignitaries not attending, rather than the Olympic team.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed last month that a decision had not yet been made over whether politicians will boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

Johnson said a decision has yet to be made on whether British politicians or members of the Royal Family will attend the Games.

The letter can be accessed here.


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Queensland's 2032 Olympic dreams remain 'on hold'

Credit:   Brisbane Times  

By Lydia Lynch  September 15, 2020 — 11.40am
Queensland's dream to host the 2032 Olympic Games remains on hold, despite calls from some to ditch the pitch altogether as the state grapples with the economic devastation wreaked by the coronavirus pandemic.

In December last year, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk decided the state would go ahead with a bid to host the games in 2032.

That was a month before the first COVID-19 case made its way to Queensland and before 234,000 Queenslanders lost their jobs.

In May, during the height of the pandemic, Ms Palaszczuk said the bid process had been paused, but was adamant the decision did not go any further than that.

"It's just on hold. I wouldn't read too much into that," she said at the time.

Four months on, there has been no decision about when, or if, things will be ramped up again.

"That Olympics project is still on hold," Queensland Treasurer Cameron Dick said.

"We are facing a peak unemployment rate of 9 per cent in the December quarter this year.

"There are [still] 133,800 Queenslanders who need a job and everything I am doing as Treasurer and everything our government is doing is designed to get those Queenslanders back to work.

"I think it is still too early to make any formal commitment about moving the Olympics project ahead."

Mr Dick said the pandemic would not be over this calendar, or even financial, year.

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington said a future LNP government "will progress a bid for the 2032 Olympics", but like Labor would first focus on getting people into jobs.

"Queensland needs more infrastructure to boost any future bid to host the 2032 Olympics," Ms Frecklington said.

"Queensland would reap the economic benefits of hosting the Olympics, but first the state needs an LNP government who will deliver job-creating infrastructure."

Katter's Australian Party leader Robbie Katter said the bid should be shelved altogether.

“It’s a nice thing to do when you’re an affluent state that is in good control of its economy, but that is the exact opposite of the position we’re in," he said.

"Any government now needs to be extra focused on maintaining some integrity in their economy so that people have jobs."

Mr Katter said any government that went ahead with a bid would be "trying to build a Colosseum to distract people".


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Labor to clinch government in Queensland election, expected to win required 47 seats as Annastacia Palaszczuk claims third term as Premier

31 October 2020

ABC News Australia

By Matt Eaton and James Maasdorp

Posted 6hhours ago, updated 15mminutes ago
ABC election analyst Antony Green projects Labor will win the required 47 seats to govern in its own right in Queensland as Annastacia Palaszczuk clinches a third term as Premier.

Palaszczuk confident she will lead a majority government

No fears of a minority government tonight, at least, from the Premier, who is confident Labor will lead in its own right.
"I'm confident we will do it with a majority Labor government. We will ensure that our growing state has the nurses and the doctors that are needed for their hospitals. We will make sure that we have those police officers that are needed right across the state, because we value the work that our front line officers do - the paramedics, the firefighters. These are the people that when times are tough stand with you. They get through things with you. They are by our side and we will back them.
"Our state is an incredible state. It's diverse, it's got so much talent and it's got so much depth. Our regional plans are going to be tailored for each region to ensure that we are matching the needs of that community with the skills and training of the young people to give hope and opportunity for every young person to achieve their dreams in this state. We will do that together.
"So, to my Cabinet, can I thank them for their hard work. Get back to work as soon as possible.
"To all of my caucus colleagues and also to all of our members that actually ran for the Labor Party as well, thank you.
"I also want to commend the Leader of the Opposition for what I think has been a very good campaign. It is the first time that two women have gone head to head, and I think people might comment that it was a much more respectful debate than we have seen in times gone past."
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk lead the 2032 Queensland Olympic Bid preparations which ha been on pause during the pandemic.
Now that the Premier and her government has been re-elected for another 4 years and no new Covid cases in Queensland, we await news of the resumption of the 2032 Bid for the Summer and Paralympic Games.
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9 minutes ago, ulu said:

I was under the impression that both parties supported the bid so the election result wouldn't change much.

Yes the Queensland LNP opposition party did support the bid but with the Government being re-elected, the current Government players in the bid and the onnections already made with the AOC and the IOC prior it being paused will remain the same.   It just makes things that much easier with those commitments and plans which have already been outlined in the Queensland Government’s last term.

As TorchbearerSydney said also, the new 4-year term of this majority Government well covers the Olympic decision timeframe.

The AOC and the IOC will now eagerly be anticipating the re-elected Queensland Government resuming the Bid in order to lock in a Host City election date.

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Yup, stick a fork in it. There's too much uncertainty in the world for the IOC to go around making more for itself and other cities with no need. In fact if I was Bach, I'd be arranging for the confirmation to be done virtually before 2020 is out, leave next year totally dedicated to Tokyo prep, & minimise the fallout on 32 if the worst happens & they have to cancel. 

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41 minutes ago, yoshi said:

In fact if I was Bach, I'd be arranging for the confirmation to be done virtually before 2020 is out

if i was Bach i'd be on the phone to Palaszczuk this morning telling her the games are hers if she wants it. Get 2032 wrapped up before the only hosting option is some backwater 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Scott Morrison to meet with International Olympics Committee to push Queensland’s 2032 bid

Prime Scott Morrison will meet with the International Olympics Committee in Tokyo today to push Queensland’s 2032 Olympic Games bid and outline the Federal Government’s plans for financial support.


Prime Minister Scott Morrison will meet with the International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach in Tokyo today about Queensland’s 2032 Olympic Games bid.

Mr Morrison is outlining the Federal Government’s fiscal support for the Queensland Government bid, which includes cost-sharing arrangements on major infrastructure upgrades such as new roads and train services required to host the event.


Hosting the 2032 Olympics would require a second M1 and a Very Fast Train (VFT) network between the Gold and Sunshine Coasts.

This would be in addition to the Cross River Rail and Brisbane Live entertainment precincts.

Mr Morrison, who will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga tonight, met Mr Bach and Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates.


Mr Bach has accepted Queensland’s bid from Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and talks are continuing on whether Queensland will be “invited’’ to host the Games.

The selection process for the Olympics has changed and costly bidding wars among countries has now been replaced by “ongoing dialogue’’, where countries are asked to present their credentials before the IOC makes a final determination on which bid gets the green light.

Australia faces Qatar, India and Indonesia for the 2032 hosting role.

AOC president John Coates believes a decision could be made around the time of next year’s Tokyo Olympics, or at the latest Beijing’s Winter Olympics, in early 2022.

Hamilton’s Portside, the Bowen Hills railway yards, and the Albion Park Raceway are touted as possible sites for the Games Village and main stadium.

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