Brisbane 2032 Games plans slammed as ‘half baked’

Laine Clark and Savannah Meacham |

Graham Quirk, who led a review of Brisbane 2032 Games infrastructure, has given damning evidence.
Graham Quirk, who led a review of Brisbane 2032 Games infrastructure, has given damning evidence.

Plans for the Brisbane Olympics have been dismissed as “half-baked”, with the Queensland premier also slammed for blindsiding a 2032 Games infrastructure review.

LNP senator Bridget McKenzie didn’t hold back outside an inquiry into Australia’s Olympic preparations, saying the Brisbane Games were heading in the wrong direction with “a lot of buck passing but no building”.

Ms McKenzie was among senators on the inquiry panel in Brisbane on Wednesday, telling Olympic supremo John Coates that unnamed department insiders had described 2032 Games infrastructure plans as “half-baked and half-arsed”.

The International Olympic Committee vice-president would not comment on the “rude” language at the public hearing.

But Ms McKenzie later agreed with the harsh assessment, saying “nothing has been done” almost three years after Brisbane was named 2032 host.

“From the evidence I’ve heard thus far it has been half-arsed and half-baked – I think the department officials were correct,” she told reporters outside the inquiry.

“From the paperwork we’ve seen, there’s no feasibility studies, there’s no business cases, there’s no funding agreements, there’s no sod-turning – nothing has been done.”

The senator also took aim at Queensland Premier Steven Miles for holding his own infrastructure review while an independent assessment was underway.

Former lord mayor Graham Quirk led the independent review, handing down his report last month.

However, Mr Quirk told the inquiry he had been blindsided when he discovered the Queensland government had been working on their own plan.

Mr Miles has copped widespread criticism for ignoring the independent review’s key findings, disregarding advice to build a new $3.4 billion stadium as the 2032 centrepiece and instead upgrade ageing venues.

Mr Quirk (right) gives evidence to the Senate committee.
Mr Quirk’s (right) recommendation for a new stadium was over before it began. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Mr Quirk said he got an inkling that the state government was not keen on a new stadium before his review was completed.

“About a week or so out…the panel were advised that the government probably didn’t have a very strong appetite for a stadium,” he said.

But he told the inquiry he did not know that the state government had been working on its own venue plan behind the scenes.

“The premier announced…that he had been, for the couple of weeks prior, working with some public servants around his proposal,” he said.

“The panel did not know that, it was a complete blindsiding.”

Ms McKenzie said it was concerning that Mr Miles was running a “parallel process”.

“This is actually an indictment,” she said.

“We want to see a successful Games and I think today we have heard some concerning evidence about its going in the wrong direction.”

The independent review also recommended the Queensland Sport and Athletic Centre not be used for the 2032 Games.

Premier Steven Miles
Premier Steven Miles coped a lot of flack for disregarding Mr Quirk’s advice. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

Mr Miles also ignored that, saying he had opted for a QSAC upgrade after advice from Mr Coates.

Mr Coates on Wednesday told the inquiry it was his preferred venue.

He confirmed he became aware of the government’s QSAC position days before the independent review was handed down.

Mr Coates was not concerned by 2032 plans, comparing it to the successful Sydney Games’ preparations.

“I’m quite relaxed about where we are,” he said.

Senators Anne Ruston (left) and Bridget McKenzie (right) look on
Senators Anne Ruston (left) and Bridget McKenzie (right) look on as Mr Quirk answers questions. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

The state government introduced laws to establish an independent Games delivery authority on Wednesday.

It will deliver Games infrastructure and be established by mid-year.

Mr Quirk said “time is ticking” to deliver the 2032 Games.

“I did say every day during this review to any public servant that will listen … you cannot do business as usual for these Games – you will not make it in time,” he said.

AAP