OPINION: Olympics is our chance to shine

AN Olympic bid is not just about hosting a sporting event. We have the chance to put Queensland on the map, to invite the world to our shores and to ignite major infrastructure initiatives.

Today, The Courier-Mail and News Corp Australia are throwing their united support behind a southeast Queensland bid for the 2032 Games.

This is Queensland's moment to shine. There's never been a more significant opportunity to tell our story to the world, and to better the lives of Queenslanders in the process. Our fellow daily newspapers in the southeast - the Gold Coast Bulletin, Sunshine Coast Daily, Toowoomba Chronicle and Queensland Times in Ipswich - are also backing the push for an Olympic Games for the southeast.

This is not just about hosting a sporting event. We have the chance put Queensland on the map, to invite the world to our shores and to ignite major infrastructure initiatives that will ensure the Sunshine State remains the best place to live, work and play.

The window of opportunity won't be open for long.

While southeast Queensland, thanks to nearly two years' worth of Olympics work by the Council of Mayors, combined with The Courier-Mail 's, groundbreaking Future SEQ and Future Tourism campaigns, is ahead of the pack, the number of other potential bidders is growing.

India, multiple German cities, Madrid and Shanghai are among more than a dozen candidates believed to be interested in the 2032 Games.

The Council of Mayors SEQ and The Courier-Mail's Future campaigns have built a compelling case for why we should bid, with the need to invest in future transport and infrastructure needs, including fast rail, central to getting the region Olympics-ready.

The Federal Government has also been quick to show its support, committing $10 million to back a southeast Queensland bid.

Olympic legends such as Dawn Fraser and Kieren Perkins have joined business and community leaders and grassroots sporting organisations in backing the bid.

Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates deserves immense praise for his work in modernising processes, positioning the Olympic movement for the future, and creating the window of opportunity that now exists.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk must not dilute Queensland’s chances of the state winning the Olympics by trying to include every town from the Tweed to Cape York. Picture: Sarah Marshall
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk must not dilute Queensland’s chances of the state winning the Olympics by trying to include every town from the Tweed to Cape York. Picture: Sarah Marshall

The reforms made to the Olympic Charter in Switzerland late on Wednesday represent some of the most historic changes in the Olympic movement.

The Queensland Government now needs to get serious. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants the whole state to benefit from hosting a Games, and there's no doubt all of Queensland will win from the flow-on effect of an Olympics, even if it is primarily staged in the southeast.

Training bases for international teams will be required in regional centres, which will likely result in upgraded facilities and new equipment for local clubs and their athletes.

Some Olympic sports will be played in major centres outside of the southeast, such as Cairns and Townsville, which will have a fully functioning, multipurpose 25,000 seat rectangular stadium by then.

The tourism benefit will also be immense for all of Queensland, which can market itself to a global audience, and companies right across the state will share in the unprecedented business generated.

Townsville will have a 25,000-seat multipurpose stadium by 2032. Picture: Alix Sweeney
Townsville will have a 25,000-seat multipurpose stadium by 2032. Picture: Alix Sweeney

But the Premier must not dilute the chances of winning an Olympics by trying to include every town from the Tweed to Cape York.

The focus must be on maximising the opportunity for southeast Queensland. And that doesn't just mean new and improved sporting infrastructure, but a committed plan to use the Olympics as a catalyst to fast-track funding for major road and rail projects, without which this region's prosperity and liveability will be seriously undermined as the population grows by two million over the next quarter of a century.

The time act is now. A collaborative, bipartisan bid to make Queensland the centre of the universe in 2032.

We now call on Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Queensland Government to provide unequivocal support to a southeast Queensland Olympics bid for 2032.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and one we can't let pass us by. Let's go for gold.