The Olympic Games are likely to return to Australia in 2032 after Brisbane was installed as the “preferred bidder” in a decision that is set to put the Sunshine Coast on the world stage and fast-track vital transport infrastructure.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach told a news conference overnight that the decision “was not a decision against anybody”.
“This is just a decision in favour of one interested party at this moment in time,” he said.
Preferred status means the IOC will negotiate exclusively with the Australian bid.
Brisbane, if negotiations conclude successfully and approval is granted by an IOC Session, would be the third Australian city to host the Games after Melbourne had the honour in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.
That would effectively end the hopes of other bidders, such as Rhine-Ruhr, Doha, Budapest, Jakarta, New Delhi, Istanbul, St Petersburg and the Chinese cities of Chengdu and Chongqing.
In February 2020, the Queensland Government said the 2032 Games could be held over three venue ‘hubs’ – Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.
Other regional locations would be considered, including football venues in Toowoomba, Townsville and Cairns.
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Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson has played a leading role in advancing the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games candidature since the idea was first mooted by the Council of Mayors South East Queensland nearly six years ago.
Mayor Jamieson said he was delighted with the announcement overnight by the International Olympic Committee of the preferred host for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
In April 2015, he and then Lord Mayor Graham Quirk were the first government representatives to meet with IOC President Thomas Bach to discuss the potential to host the Games in South East Queensland.
Mayor Jamieson said it had been a rollercoaster journey to get to this point, but we were not over the line yet.
“When IOC President Bach and Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates met with Graham Quirk and myself as the delegates of the Council of Mayors (SEQ) in Sydney, he was incredibly impressed with the SEQ story and the power of Mayors and councils working together for the advancement of their communities,” he said.
“Bringing the Federal and State Governments to the table in 2019 has only served to add to our momentum and the inherent value of what can be realised when the three tiers of government work together productively is what has helped achieve the milestone we have reached today.
“As we now push our way through the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games can become a powerful tool in South East Queensland’s economic resurgence and deliver an incredible boost to our tourism industry when it needs it the most – along with many other industries that will be important contributors to the Games supply chain.”
The Council of Mayors’ proposal secured the support of the Commonwealth Government, with an assessment concluding the Games could generate 130,000 jobs and deliver up to $8.6 billion in new trade opportunities among other benefits.
A report was released in 2019 which showed an Olympic and Paralympic Games in South East Queensland was “feasible and likely to generate significant opportunity for substantial economic and community benefits”.
Bach outlined why Brisbane was chosen as a preferred bidder.
He said the city proposed “sustainable Games in line with the region’s long-term strategy and using primarily existing and temporary venues”.
“The commitment of Australia and Oceania to Olympic sports has grown remarkably since the fantastic Olympic Games Sydney 2000. This is why we see such strong public support.
“We decided to seize an opportunity to take to the next stage our discussions about returning 32 years later.
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“In this way, we are also acknowledging the strength of the Australian team and other athletes from across the continent of Oceania at the Olympic Games over the past decades.”
The IOC developed the preferred bidder system in 2019 to prevent potential hosts spending large amounts of money over several years only to fall short.
“We are delighted the IOC Executive Board agreed with the Commission’s recommendation to invite Brisbane 2032 to targeted dialogue,” said Kristin Kloster Aasen, chair of the Future Host Commission.
“The IOC EB and the Commission noted the excellent progress that it has made, the strength of its proposition and the strategic opportunities it affords to the Olympic Movement.”
Tokyo hosts the 2020 Games, delayed until later this year because of the coronavirus, while Paris has the 2024 Games and Los Angeles the 2028 edition.