(Australian Associated Press)
The head of the world Olympic movement is impressed but southeast Queensland has a long way to go before it hosts the event, experts say.
International Olympics Committee president Thomas Bach likes what he sees in Brisbane and surrounds ahead of a push by some local mayors for the region to host the 2032 games.
They believe it is feasible given much of the required infrastructure already exists, particularly from last year’s Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
“I was really impressed, I must say … seeing the existing infrastructure, sports infrastructure,” Mr Bach said.
Experts agree Queensland is well placed to host the 2032 Olympics given basic infrastructure is sound and Australia has expertise in large scale sporting events.
But the region’s capacity to take on the task is at risk of being overstated, as even venues upgraded for the Commonwealth Games would need to have more capacity.
“I think what’s perhaps less well known is whether the average person in the street realises how much we need,” UQ tourism business expert Judith Mair told AAP.
“It’s not enough to say we’ve done the Commonwealth Games therefore we just need maybe another stadium and we’ll be right.”
The Gold Coast’s aquatic centre, which held 10,000 for the Commonwealth Games, is “still way too small for the Olympics”, said Millicent Kennelly, a sporting event expert from Griffith University.
“You can say we’ve got world class facilities, but we’re still going to have to take it up a notch,” she said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told Mr Bach in Japan that “Queenslanders will always want to outdo NSW” by putting on a better Games than Sydney in 2000.
Australian Olympic Committee boss John Coates said a recent IOC decision to allow a region or group of cities to host the Games left “no question” Queensland could do it.
The cost of hosting the Olympics and Paralympics has been estimated at $900 million.
That does not include upgrades to transport, which would be a whole new ball game given the slow transport on the Gold to Sunshine Coast corridor.
“We would need to have a number of things in place, including faster inter-city services,” Griffith University transport expert Matthew Burke said.
But Dr Burke believes Queensland would gain back the costs of transport through increased productivity in the long term.
The Games would expedite the construction of an expanded transport network that a burgeoning southeast Queensland would eventually need anyway, Dr Kennelly says.
“Even our telecommunications capacity will have to be brought up to scratch,” she says.
While Queensland could host the Games, the question remains whether it should.
“The opportunities I see for southeast Queensland are around connectivity,” Dr Kennelly said.
“Working together on this kind of bid opens up an opportunity to look at the bigger picture of southeast Queensland.”