QAS in Nathan Overhaul: Olympic Hopefuls Confront Training Centre Upheaval

Queensland’s Olympic athletes could lose their state-of-the-art $10-million training centre, the Queensland Academy of Sports (QAS) in Nathan, if plans for a redevelopment push through. 

This looming demolition is part of Queenland’s broader $1.6 billion plan to revamp the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC), which houses the QAS. It raises alarms about the potential derailment of the athletes’ gold medal ambitions.

Esteemed Olympic athletes, including four-time Olympian Cate Campbell and Olympic Gold Medallist Glynis Nunn, have voiced their concerns, suggesting the move could severely impact Queensland’s prospects at the Brisbane Olympics

Ms Campbell and Ms Nunn, among others, fear that the demolition could force athletes to seek training facilities interstate, potentially sabotaging Queensland’s medal chances at upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Despite the potential changes, concrete plans have yet to be unveiled to accommodate the displaced athletes, leading to a chorus of opposition from the sports community.

The Centre for Athletic Excellence

Opened two years ago by former Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the QAS in Nathan is a high-performance centre touted as Queensland’s “secret weapon” for Olympic and Paralympic preparation. 

Designed to provide athletes with a competitive edge, its potential demolition has sparked widespread criticism, including former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, who recommended ditching the QSAC upgrades and questioned its financial rationale. 

QSAC or Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre in Mt Gravatt
Photo Credit: QSAC/Facebook

Olympic hockey gold medallist Renita Garard and the QAS’s former chief executive, Chelsea Warr have also expressed their opposition to the State Government’s plans.

Athletes and officials alike warn that even a temporary disruption in training could significantly affect performance outcomes. The uncertainty surrounding training facilities poses a challenge not just for current athletes but also for identifying and developing future talents for the 2032 Games.

Government’s Stance

In response to the backlash, State Development Minister Grace Grace has indicated that a detailed business case will outline the full scope and timeline of the QSAC upgrades. The government promises minimal disruption and pledges to work closely with stakeholders to mitigate the impact on athletes, especially in the lead-up to the Paris Games.

Mt Gravatt, Nathan Have Highest Childcare Fees in Queensland

Did you know that families in Nathan and Mt Gravatt are spending more on childcare fees compared to families in the other suburbs of Brisbane?

According to the Federal Government’s latest report on Child Care in Australia, Nathan and Mt Gravatt residents are shelling out over $16,000 a year per child left with childminders. For families availing of the subsidies, the cost is reduced to 50 percent ($8,000/year) or 85 percent ($2,400), depending on the subsidy. 

Families in Carindale, Holland Park, Indooroopilly, Kenmore, Sherwood and Yeronga are paying $15,000 a year for childcare (without subsidies). Elsewhere, families in Gympie, Ipswich and Jimboomba spend $10,000 to $12,000 a year.

In December 2020, Queensland’s average childcare cost per hour rose to 3.7 percent at $9.80, whilst the national average is at $10.50 despite a price freeze imposed by the Federal Government as part of the COVID-19 economic measures. 

Photo Credit: ParentiPacek/Pixabay

“Generally, the highest rates of growth have been in areas with lower fees. Many of the regions with the high average fee growth were in regional Queensland and other parts of regional Australia,” the report cited. 

However, after subsidies, the average childcare cost per hour in Queensland should be at $3.28, deemed the lowest in the country. Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge said that a third of parents in Queensland are enjoying these lowered childcare fees.

The report comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison signed the Family Assistance Legislation Amendment (Early Childhood Education and Care Coronavirus Response and Other Measures) Bill 2021 that will allow 99 percent of child care services to remain open during emergencies and disasters. This means that the facilities will continue to receive payments in case of massive emergencies, such as a pandemic. 

“This legislation will give us the flexibility to respond with similar support during future crises,” Mr Tudge said. “We are investing a record $10.3 billion in child care this year, including $9 billion to subsidise fees for parents.”