MP calls for stadium cash ‘change of heart’
Federal Fisher MP Andrew Wallace has called on his government to have a “change of heart” over Sunshine Coast Stadium funding in light of a leading southeast Queensland Olympic bid.
News broke overnight on Thursday that Brisbane had been named as the preferred host city by the International Olympic Committee for the 2032 Games.
The committee will enter into 12 months of exclusive negotiation with the southeast Queensland bid team and the Australia Olympic Committee.
The Gold and Sunshine Coasts are set to play key roles in the Games, with several venues, an athletes’ day village and media centre pencilled in for the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Wallace said it was “absolutely fantastic news” that southeast Queensland was the preferred candidate for the Games.
He said it would require upgrades to local sporting infrastructure, opening up the “perfect opportunity” for the Federal Government to provide the $20 million of remaining funds needed to kickstart a $68 million Sunshine Coast Stadium expansion.
Mr Wallace confirmed he’d written to the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, asking them to reconsider if they could “open the Treasury coffers” and make $20 million available.
He said it was a great opportunity for a “change of heart” from the Federal Government.
“This is a great opportunity now for the Federal Government to get on board,” Mr Wallace said.
Private philanthropist Roy Thompson had previously stated he would pull his $10 million funding pledge if the Federal Government couldn’t find $20 million for the project in the May federal budget.
Fairfax MP Ted O’Brien said the Games would bring “untold opportunities to the Sunshine Coast region” if the southeast Queensland bid was successful.
“It will bring two decades of benefits to our state and Australia,” Mr O’Brien said.
“As a tourism mecca, you can just imagine the shot in the arm that an announcement later this year about 2032 would be for our local economy, especially as vaccines roll out across the globe and border restrictions start to loosen.
“Our argument at the door of council chamber, in George St and in Canberra would not be for special infrastructure for the sake of the Games, but rather for the acceleration of new infrastructure that we’ll need anyway to accommodate our future population growth.”
Mr Wallace said the Olympics and Paralympics would be great for the region.
“It’ll just be so exciting for the Sunshine Coast and for Sunshine Coast locals to be able to get and see this international Olympic and very importantly, Paralympic action,” he said.
“We’re a real training ground for the world’s elite athletes (able bodies and Paralympic athletes).”
Mr O’Brien said the progress was positive, but the race to host the 2032 Games wasn’t over yet.
“The finish line is in sight, so let’s not drop the baton now,” he said.