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Build QLD: Gabba redevelopment to be completed in time for 2029 Ashes, proposed timeline says

The iconic Gabba could be redeveloped between the 2025 and 2029 Ashes series and in time for a Brisbane 2032 Olympics, bid planners have revealed.

Under the proposed timeline if Brisbane successfully wins the right to host the biggest event in the world, when Cross River Rail construction finished in 2024, the work site would then be used to build the new Gabba.

Cross River Rail will take sports fans straight to the Gabba doorstep, cutting out the current 20-minute walk from South Bank station, event bus from the city or getting stuck in cabs queuing back up onto the Expressway.

As well as the Gabba providing a new stadium for AFL and cricket, bid planners are also working on community hubs that would be used for local sport in the years before 2032 then host Games events on the Gold and Sunshine coasts, Logan and Moreton Bay, an Infrastructure Partnerships Australia seminar was told.

A successful Olympics bid could change the Brisbane skyline, with television channels pushing to leave Mt Coot-tha and take their towers down and hand back their 99-year leases.

Committee for Brisbane vice president and Nine Queensland managing director Kylie Blucher said the mountain could be handed back to the public.

“Changes to the industry have seen the end of most local production and those buildings are no longer fit for purpose,” Ms Blucher said.

“They are tired and expensive to maintain and, from a technical point of view, the stations do not need to be there.

“Channel Nine would happily leave the mountain and hand its lease back. I believe 7 and 10 would do the same.

“The 2032 Olympics and Paralympics will require a state-of-the-art media centre to be created in Brisbane that will house about 25,000 media representatives. Bowen Hills, already home to News Corporation, is one possible site.

“A legacy might be that the television stations move permanently as anchor tenants into that centre.

“Mt Coot-tha is among Brisbane’s greatest assets – 1600 hectares of bushland that is a hugely popular place for recreation. The TV station sites, with panoramic views across the city and with an established development footprint, are perfect for tourism investment that leverages our beautiful bushland.”

The Courier-Mail is presenting the Build Queensland campaign in partnership with Master Builders, The Star Entertainment Group, Brisbane Airport, Inland Rail, Cross River Rail, Transurban and Urbis to highlight the opportunities and challenges facing the state, with industry leaders united on the Games being a shining light on the Queensland horizon.

The Star Entertainment Group chairman John O’Neill said securing the Olympics would create a decade-long “green and gold runway” for Queensland and Australia.

The former sports administrator, who joined Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and Prime Minister’s representative MP Ted O’Brien on the trip to IOC HQ in Lausanne two years ago, said there was no event like the Olympics for putting Brisbane on the world map.

He said winning the right to host wasn’t a “done deal” but the Olympics offered possible massive benefits across Queensland.

“Hosting 2032 is about more than just two weeks of sport. It provides a 10-year green and gold runway through to 2032.

“We need to look at 2032 not as the end point but the beginning. It’s the legacy.

“It’s about sport being supercharged in Queensland and right across the nation.

“There’s the opportunity to deliver critical transport and community infrastructure by fast-tracking those projects.

“The excitement we have at Star is around tourism and jobs growth in Queensland.

“There’s an extraordinary number of supply chain opportunities for businesses right across Queensland.

“Money can’t buy the global advertorial that goes with hosting the Olympics so Queensland and Australia’s reputation will be front and centre for 10 years and thereafter.

“The extraordinary economic benefit that major events create for the gross state product for Queensland and the GDP for Australia is unarguable.”

In June 2019, The Courier-Mail and sister SEQ mastheads officially backed the bid with front page editorials and has continued to fuel the push for the 2032 Games and the billions of dollars and 100,000 jobs it promises for Queensland.

The SEQ Council of Mayors proposed a Games bid to fast-track public transport with a feasibility study which gathered momentum on the back of The Courier-Mail’s Future SEQ campaign that warned the southeast risked grinding to a halt as major roads hit peak congestion by the early 2030s.

Council of Mayors chair, Lord Mayor Schrinner said “talk about a prospective Games is thrilling”.

“But for it to be a success and for South East Queensland to manage growth, we cannot lose sight of the real prize, which is the infrastructure our residents need to get around the region safer and faster,” he said.

Infrastructure Association of Queensland chief executive officer Priscilla Radice said securing the Games would be a chance to deliver vital mass transit.

“A successful 2032 Games bid will be an opportunity to create a legacy, to make sure we deliver on mass transit, walkability, digital innovation, and other vital infrastructure needed for a rapidly growing state,” Ms Radice said.

“It might also be the catalyst we need to get the three levels of government working together and collaborating with the private sector.

“The 2032 Games is not the ends, it is the means – it is a deadline to give us the sense of urgency to act; before it’s too late.”

Dan Knowles

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