Upgrades Foreseen at the QSAC in Nathan for the 2032 Olympics

Queensland intends to transform the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC) in Nathan into the main stadium for the 2032 Olympic Games. This decision marks a significant change in direction, sidelining the proposed redevelopment of The Gabba and a new stadium at Victoria Park, despite recommendations for these venues. 

Instead, QSAC, a legacy of the 1982 Commonwealth Games, could undergo a comprehensive $1.6 billion upgrade, heralding a new era for the historic site and its surrounding community.

Background and Controversy

After a $450,000 taxpayer-funded review of the Olympic venues led by former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk advocated for a new stadium at Victoria Park, Premier Steven Miles announced the cabinet’s endorsement for QSAC’s redevelopment. This comes despite the review’s critique of QSAC’s suitability due to transport challenges and limited legacy benefits.

“QSAC Stadium should not be used as an Olympic and Paralympic Games venue to host the track and field events,” Mr Quirk’s panel recommended. 

“Transport and access to the QSAC Stadium during the Games will be extremely challenging and costly to facilitate.

“Site topography makes this challenge even harder, noting significant Games operational requirements to safely support the number of spectators, athletes and officials.

“Griffith University would need to be used for bus access, so bushland would need to be cleared and the pathway to the QSAC Stadium widened,” the panel’s findings further cited.

Financial Implications and Alternatives

The decision to invest $1.6 billion in QSAC, defying the independent review’s suggestions, has sparked debate. 

With an initial budget to overhaul QSAC and additional funds allocated for Suncorp Stadium and the Gabba upgrades, questions about fiscal responsibility and the best use of public resources have emerged.

Consequently, rejecting a new $3.4 billion Victoria Park stadium highlights the prioritisation of existing infrastructure over new constructions.

A New Vision for QSAC

The proposed redevelopment involves demolishing and rebuilding significant portions of QSAC, including constructing an 8,000-seat western grandstand and additional permanent seating. This plan aims to elevate QSAC to Olympic standards whilst considering the site’s challenging topography and access issues. 

The ultimate goal is a versatile 14,000-capacity stadium that serves both the Olympics and the community post-Games.

Griffith University, located next door to the QSAC, endorses investigating the upgrades.

“Brisbane has benefitted vastly from the facility since it opened in time for the Commonwealth Games in 1982,” Griffith Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Carolyn Evans said in a statement

QSAC Commonwealth Games in the 1980s
Commonwealth Games 1982
Photo Credit: QSAC/Facebook

“It has been home to major sporting fixtures and teams and as a venue for international musical acts such as Madonna and Billy Joel.

“The uses for QSAC will only grow as we approach the Olympics and well after they are finished.

“Additionally, improved transport connections to the area will benefit many thousands of people living in Brisbane’s southern suburbs.”

The decision to focus on QSAC for the 2032 Olympics represents a bold commitment to utilising existing infrastructure, fostering community legacy, and managing financial resources wisely. Whilst the move has its critics, particularly concerning the review’s recommendations, it sets the stage for an Olympic transformation that could redefine Brisbane and its approach to major sporting events.

Published 19-March-2024