MPs to skip Paris as Brisbane Olympic venue row rages

Savannah Meacham and Laine Clark |

Queensland says it won’t send any state ministers to monitor the Paris Olympics.
Queensland says it won’t send any state ministers to monitor the Paris Olympics.

No Queensland MPs will go to this year’s Paris Olympics as it finalises its 2032 Brisbane Games infrastructure plans.

Major transport upgrades are on the government’s radar after premier Steven Miles announced a controversial 2032 Olympic venue plan.

One of the key projects will be improving transport at a redeveloped Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, with lord mayor Adrian Schrinner claiming it will need up to $500 million to fix.

But it seems the government won’t be looking for any inspiration at the Paris Olympics, with no one from cabinet attending.

“We’ll be sending some of the department people over and I think the governor is going to represent the government,” Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace said on Tuesday.

“But I won’t be attending, neither will the premier.”

The news comes after it emerged Ms Grace had not yet convened a meeting of a government group that advises on Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic legacy opportunities.

Grace Grace
Grace Grace says Queensland’s governor will represent the state at the Paris Olympics. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The legacy committee has met twice in the past year, last convening in November 2023 when former minister Stirling Hinchliffe was in charge.

The committee is reportedly not set to meet until May under Ms Grace, who took over when she became Infrastructure Minister in December 2023.

It has been a tumultuous time for the government, with Mr Miles criticised for ignoring a Brisbane 2032 infrastructure review’s key findings.

He ruled out a recommendation to build a $3.4 billion stadium at Victoria Park in Brisbane’s CBD as the 2032 centrepiece and disregarded advice the 49-year-old QSAC should not be used for Olympic track and field events.

Mr Miles opted to upgrade QSAC after advice from International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates.

“I wanted to talk through with him his submission (to the review) as well as the process then of negotiating with the IOC to agree on that outcome,” Mr Miles told reporters on Monday.

The review said QSAC would require a $1.6 billion rebuild that was “very hard to justify”.

Mr Schrinner claimed another $400 to $500 million would be needed for transport upgrades for the venue which is a 20-minute drive from Brisbane’s CBD and will be 20km from the athletes’ village.

Mr Miles moved to shut down a report claiming the government last week discussed cancelling the Brisbane Games over concerns about venue costs and dwindling public support.

“Cancelling the Games was never a serious prospect. It was never something that we actively considered – we’ve never sought legal advice on it.”

The review recommended not proceeding with an $80 million upgrade of a 15,000-seat Toowoomba Sports Ground project, claiming there would be little legacy impact.

Deputy Premier Cameron Dick on Tuesday said the government agreed with the recommendation the area west of Brisbane would not be a priority for development ahead of 2032.