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Brisbane Lord Mayor quits 2032 Olympic Leaders’ Forum

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Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has resigned from the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum after the state government put pressure on the Brisbane City Council to help fund costs to upgrade the Brisbane Showgrounds’ Main Arena.

The Queensland Government has identified the showgrounds’ arena as ‘the best possible temporary venue’ to host the Brisbane Lions and cricket matches while the Gabba is being demolished and rebuilt in preparation for Brisbane to host the Olympics in 2032.

However the upgrade of the arena to a 20,000 seat venue has a funding shortfall of $91 million with the state government asking stakeholders, including the council, to meet. The Royal National Agricultural and Industrial Association of Queensland (RNA), which operates the showgrounds, and the sporting teams which call the Gabba home, are the other two organisations being pressed to contribute funding.

“Ever since the Premier and I travelled to Tokyo together to secure the 2032 Games, I have been a committed team player, despite numerous setbacks and political differences,” said Schrinner in a statement over the weekend.

I have done this because I strongly believed that only by working together can we stage the best-ever Games and deliver a legacy that benefits all residents.

However, it’s clear that the Games have become more about over-priced stadiums rather than the promise of vital transport solutions.

The State Government’s ham-fisted and foolish attempt to extort Brisbane ratepayers for tens of millions of dollars for a new RNA stadium was the final straw.

“This truly bizarre approach was undertaken because I had the temerity to back local fans and say Brisbane teams should play in Brisbane while the Gabba is torn down and rebuilt.”

In his statement, Schrinner also withdrew his support for the demolition and rebuild of the Gabba.

“This week it became very apparent that the Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum is a dysfunctional farce, a pointless talkfest established to placate key stakeholders while all the real decisions are made by the State Government behind closed doors,” he said.

“It has also become clear that there must be better options than demolishing and rebuilding the Gabba.

“The Games are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Brisbane and Queensland.

“But unless the State Government’s approach changes, this opportunity will be squandered through mismanagement.”

Schrinner also called for an independent Games coordination authority. Earlier this year the state government put in place a Brisbane 2032 Coordination Office which is accountable to Parliament.

In Brisbane’s bid to host the Olympics in 2032, an Olympic Coordination Authority was proposed, which would have included federal, state and local government representatives. It appears the Leaders Forum, from which Schrinner has just resigned, was the avenue for local government to have the nearest form of representation to what a coordination authority would have provided.

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