Gabba Stadium Redevelopment
The State and Federal Governments have announced a whopping $2.7 billion to demolish and rebuild the Gabba as the main Olympic Stadium, increasing its capacity from 42,000 to 50,000. We have still not seen any plans, the business case, or any cost details associated with the Gabba. You can see this letter from the Deputy Premier from 18 May 2023, which states "The PVR (Project Validation Report) analysis is still underway for the Gabba and the release of relevant information will depend on any commercially sensitive information not being released". In 2021, the International Olympics Committee (IOC) suggested that the Gabba be used for the opening and closing ceremonies, but that the athletics be held at Carrara Stadium, purpose-built just a few years ago for the Commonwealth Games.
East Brisbane State School
The Labor government are pushing ahead with plans to close East Brisbane State School, which shares a block with the Gabba. The school community have made it clear that there needs to be a state school within the catchment (you can see the results of their survey here). The state government's own community consultation showed that the community want a school within the current catchment. The Federal government have refused to fund the Gabba rebuild - they know this is a toxic, destructive project. You can read more about the fight to protect East Brisbane State School here, or at rethinkthegabba.org
Impact on Raymond Park
Brisbane City Council and the State Government have confirmed plans for Raymond Park in Kangaroo Point to be the location of the warm-up facilities for athletics events held at the Gabba. The government have said that homes will be spared, but the plans they have shared don't include crucial elements like carparking, lighting, fencing or security. We cannot lose our local park, or family homes, for a temporary warm-up track. Sign the Friends of Raymond Park petition here or follow Friends of Raymond Park on facebook.
The Gabba Priority Development Area
The state government has announced their plans to extend the Gabba ‘Priority Development Area’. Priority Development Areas (PDAs) are a huge planning loophole designed for the government to ram through controversial projects. If this goes ahead, huge sections of Woolloongabba, East Brisbane and South Brisbane could be redeveloped with next to no community consultation or input. You can read more about the Gabba PDA here.
The government's budget for the Olympics Games has already blown out, and we can expect the budget to only get bigger. Olympic Games run over budget by on average 172% - that billions of dollars being redirected from healthcare, housing, education, into one mega-event. Research from other host cities shows that "in most cases the Olympics are a money-losing proposition for host cities" (see this research here). Let the government know that we need money for essential services - not the Olympics.
Riverfront parkland in Kurilpa/South Brisbane
The Lord Mayor announced that 7 hectares of land along Montague Road will be bought by the government to host the media centre for the games. After the games, they have committed to turning this into what they’re calling a ‘multi-use parkland and suburban renewal precinct.’ Turning these old industrial sites along Montague Road into parkland is something locals and community groups have long been calling for and is very welcomed – but we’ll need to keep a close eye to make sure proper consultation takes place and this site remains in public hands following the games.
Driving housing unaffordability
Negative effects on housing security in Olympic host cities is well documented. Brisbane, without significant government intervention now, will suffer these impacts too. Documented impacts include:
Displacement as a result of people being evicted of moved on for Olympics infrastructure and property development. With the proposal to demolish family homes for a warm-up track at Raymond Park, displacement is already set to happen in Brisbane.
Upward pressure on rent and house prices
Failure of Olympics Villages which are are often privatized, or not transferred into public housing.
Long-term housing shifted to short-term accommodation such as Airbnbs.
You can read my more detailed overview on the impacts the Olympics has on housing affordbaility here. You can also sign our petition to ensure that the government retain the 2032 Brisbane Athletes' Village as 100% publicly-owned, genuinely affordable housing.
Lack of Transparancy
Much of the decision-making around the Olympics is being carried out in secret. Key parts in the host city contract haven’t been made public. The government have legislated that key documents to do with the Olympics can’t be accessed via right-to-information requests. A promised independant infrastructure body is now being absorbed within the Premier's department. This kind of secrecy and lack of transparency is what breeds corruption and bad decision-making.
My advocacy for the community:
- Letters to Ministers: I've been sharing community concerns with regular correspondance and meeting requests to Federal and state Ministers. You can read our letter to the Federal Sports, Education and Infrastructure Ministers here. You can read our Open Letter to all Olympics organising bodies here.
- Media coverage: I've been making regular comments in the media, on TV, print media and radio. You can see some of this coverage from The Guardian, the ABC and news.com.
- Speeches in parliament: You can read some of my speeches about the Olympics, the Gabba, East Brisbane State School and Raymond Park here. You can read my speech on the Gabba cost blowout here.
- Questions in parliament and estimates: I've been regularly using Question Time and Estimates to try to get information about the Olympics. You can find my exchange with the Premier about the lack of consutlation on page 29 of the Hansard here.
- Community Rally: We helped organise a community rally outside East Brisbane State School in late 2022.
- Submission on the 'Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games Arrangements Bill 2021': This Bill sets out the arrangements for the Brisbane Organising Committee. This bill sets in place secrecy by shielding key documents from right-to-information requests. You can read my submission here.
- Senate Inquiry: Our Federal colleagues have established a Senate Inquiry into our preparedness to host the 2032 Olympics. You can read my submission here. You can read more about the Inquiry here.
- Sharing community advocacy: I have been actively sharing a petition to protect East Brisbane State School and to protect Raymond Park. These closed in September 2023 with thousands of signatures.
- Fence signs: We've been helping to distribute fence signs to send a clear message that this community needs its school and park. You can sign up for a sign here.
- Pressure on the government and AOC: We've helped over 500 write to the government and the Australian Olympics Committee, objecting to the Gabba redevelopment. You can write your letter here.
- Research and talking to experts: You can watch my interview here with Prof Jules Boykoff, an expert on the impact of the Olympic Games.
- See my submission to the Senate Inquiry into 'Australia’s preparedness to host Commonwealth, Olympic and Paralympic Games'
- Community campaign: You can read more about the community campaign, including a documentary on the fight for the school and park, at rethinkthegabba.org
- Athletes Village campaign: Sign our petition to ensure that the government retain the 2032 Brisbane Athletes' Village as 100% publicly-owned, genuinely affordable housing.
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You can visit the official Olympics website here.