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A heritage school, an oval, and the Brisbane 2032 Olympics

A city council election in Brisbane next year could spell trouble for the 2032 Olympics plans of the Queensland state government. It's a decision not without controversy.

Tokyo 2021: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and IOC Deity Thomas Bach with the Brisbane 2032 Host Contract, formerly known as Host City Contract. (Photo: IOC/Greg Martin)

The centrepiece of the Queensland state government's expenditure on the forthcoming Brisbane 2032 Olympics involves redeveloping the inner city cricket ground known as The 'Gabba to the tune of AUD$3 billion as the main stadium.

It's a decision not without controversy.

First, The 'Gabba is an oval when International Olympic Committee (IOC) requirements are for a 50,000 seat rectangular stadium.

Second, to achieve what the Queensland Government wants for the precinct, it will involve demolishing one of the oldest primary schools in the state and resuming existing housing - including kicking-out a 93-year-old great grandfather with dementia from his home of 60 years.

Third, the ground is currently used for first class cricket and Australian Rules footy (AFL) matches. Its last major overhaul was done for the Sydney 2000 Olympics. At the time, that was viewed as acquiescing to the politically strong AFL and Cricket governing bodies who managed to secure a major upgrade for their stadium when its only use for the Sydney Olympics was as one of the outlying venues for the Olympic Football tournament.

It was an especially galling outcome for then soccer officials, as the city's major rectangular stadium is located a little more than 4 kilometres across the Brisbane River and, at that time towards the end of last century, it needed and deserved an overhaul. The year after the Sydney 2000 Olympics, work began to upgrade Suncorp (also known as Brisbane) Stadium to accommodate attendance of 55,000.

Finally, the joint bid from the Queensland state and federal governments promised the IOC that there would be no big, new, flashy infrastructure investment in the Brisbane 2032 Games but, instead, existing infrastructure and facilities would be used as much as possible.

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