Crucial upgrade required to stop Olympics ‘disaster’
AN OLYMPICS without regional fast rail would be a "disaster", Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner has warned ahead of the most high-powered meeting of decision-makers tasked with whether southeast Queensland should bid for the 2032 Games.
Cr Schrinner will join Australian Olympic Committee boss John Coates, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for the Olympic Leadership Group meeting in Cairns on Thursday, to thrash out how to proceed with any proposal for the Games.
"An SEQ Olympic Games will be at least six times bigger than the Commonwealth Games, and it will see spectators visiting all parts of the region. Cross River Rail and CityTrain will help, but there is no way they can manage the load of an Olympic Games without the addition of fast rail," Cr Schrinner, the chair of the SEQ Council of Mayors, said.
Cr Schrinner said the SEQ Mayors were committed to an Olympic Games that delivered an efficient and reliable public transport network for the entire region.
The SEQ Mayors say their comprehensive public transport study released in January showed that even if every planned project in the region was delivered, including Cross River Rail, SEQ's major road corridors would be heavily congested by 2031 and over capacity by 2041.
"A regional mass transit solution like fast rail is not a Games requirement, it is what this region needs to adequately cope for the anticipated population growth of SEQ. Trying to deliver an Olympic Games based on our current transport planning would be a disaster," Cr Schrinner said.
"The SEQ Mayors have been investigating the feasibility of an Olympic Games for four-and-a-half years and we know what it will take to deliver a successful Games. We cannot do it without a new approach to public transport in SEQ.
"Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro will form a strong foundation for public transport in the inner part of the network, but we still need a regional public transport solution to service the outer areas of SEQ such as the Sunshine and Gold coasts, Ipswich and Toowoomba.
"When the Olympic Leadership Group meets, I'll be ensuring that strong public transport investment in SEQ remains at the forefront of our discussions. Without it, the opportunity to secure an Olympic Games and the massive economic benefits it will offer Queensland could be lost."
A spokesman for the Premier said she was looking forward to working with councils and the federal government.
Using an Olympics bid to help fast-track critical infrastructure needs in southeast Queensland was at the top of the action plan delivered during The Courier-Mail's Future Tourism campaign in June.
Ms Palaszczuk has been invited to Switzerland next month to meet with International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bachand discuss a bid, that would require backing from all three levels of government: federal, state and local.
Mr Coates has said initial financial planning indicates the games will be cost-neutral to southeast Queensland.
The Council of Mayors estimates the operational budget of a southeast Queensland Games would be about $5.3 billion, but would be offset by a financial contribution from the International Olympic Committee of $2.6 billion and an anticipated $2.7 billion of revenue from sponsors, ticket sales and merchandise.
It is understood any proposal for SEQ to host the Games could be put to the IOC in time for next year's Tokyo Olympics, with its decision expected the following year.