Olympians and Paralympians Challenge Venue Decision on QSAC in Mt Gravatt

Several prominent Olympians and Paralympians have written an open letter requesting a review of the decision to select the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC) in Mt Gravatt as the main venue for the 2032 Brisbane Olympics and Paralympics. 

They have criticised the decision, calling it “embarrassing” and insufficient for creating a lasting legacy.

The elite athletes, including Curtis McGrath, Sally Pearson, Grant Hackett, Curtis McGrath, Karni Liddell, Sally Pearson, Geoff Huegill, Leisel Jones, and Brenton Rickard, publicly voiced their dissatisfaction by highlighting the QSAC’s capacity limitations and lack of a sustainable legacy post-2032. 

Olympians and Paralympians Challenge Venue Decision on QSAC in Mt Gravatt
Photo Credit: SkyNews

Despite their strong opposition, Premier Steven Miles remains firm on not revisiting the decision. The athletes stressed how this would impact their training regimes and the broader athletic community.

Premier Miles justified his decision by prioritising other state needs such as healthcare and education over more substantial investments in sporting infrastructure. Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace acknowledged the challenges, particularly concerning transport to QSAC, with potential costs running as high as $1 billion.

Senate Inquiry Insights

A Senate inquiry into the 2032 Games’ legacy criticised the choice of QSAC, echoing athletes’ concerns about the venue’s inadequacies. The inquiry, led by figures like Senator Anne Ruston and former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, examined alternatives and highlighted the dismissal of a proposed $3.4bn stadium at Victoria Park that promised a more robust legacy.

Graham Quirk’s review had recommended the Victoria Park venue over QSAC, citing it as a superior option for its potential to deliver a lasting community legacy and better value for money. However, the government opted to upgrade QSAC instead, which had been initially built for the 1982 Commonwealth Games, citing lower immediate costs.

Community and Expert Reactions

Community leaders and various sports figures have criticised the decision for neglecting long-term benefits. The Senate inquiry also highlighted missed opportunities for building a more inclusive sporting infrastructure, particularly for Paralympic athletes who face significant accessibility issues.

Critics say the decision to renovate QSAC could lead to higher operational costs due to its location and the lack of necessary facilities for a world-class event. There’s also concern about the displacement of athletes and the environmental impact of upgrading the site.

Published 17-April-2024