'Olympics would transform Ipswich forever'
A LEGENDARY athletics coach who has mentored hundreds of athletes to glory over the course of a 60-year career believes the push to bring the Olympic Games to Ipswich in 2032 would be a "waste of money".
Bailey Pashley, awarded an OAM in 2016 for his service to sport, first fell in love with the Olympics while watching the 1952 Helsinki Games.
For a man who has dedicated his life to moulding young competitors, many on to state and national titles and some to the Commonwealth Games, he seems like the last person to oppose the Games coming to southeast Queensland.
"That's why I'm talking strongly out about it," Mr Pashley said.
"We've got far more important state and national issues to be spending our money on rather than compiling the bid," he said.
The Australian Olympic Committee is confident the southeast can mount a "compelling case" to bring the Games to our back yard and all levels of government supports the push.
A formal bid process is years away.
The idea was formed by the SEQ Council of Mayors in 2015 as a catalyst to bring governments together to deliver transport infrastructure to effectively service the region's growth, including a regional fast rail network.
The Federal and State governments are funding a $10million study into the feasibility of a bid, which is expected to be fnished next year.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk won't comment on the cost of the Games until the study is finished.
Mr Pashley provided a report on local sporting infrastructure to Ipswich City Council to lobby for improved facilities prior to the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
He was hoping to attract world-class athletes to train locally.
"Nothing was of international standard... we had nothing to entice them," he said. "Still nothing meets the standard and expectations needed for major events.
"It's not not just having the facility... you need grandstands, you need places for administration, change rooms, sport medicine centres... the list goes on."
He said the amount of money needed preparing for the Games to equip Ipswich with the facilities it needed to host Olympic events, not to mention surrounding regions, would be better spent elsewhere.
"There should be major concern by the general public about cost," he said.
"My concern is the billions of dollars that will have to be poured into this massive project.
"I really cringe when I try to envisage how our council, for one, would cope and what (financial) strains will be enforced on citizens who will have to expect huge rate increases.
"The Games of 2032 seem a long way off but the cost starts now.
"During the 10 days of Olympic competition the world is likely to witness the glamour of southeast South East Queensland but in 11 years time will enough have been done to appease the plight that we see gripping other parts (of the state)?
"(There are) many factors devastating our state and country. I am concerned how all of a sudden finding money to fund the Games seems to be a fait accompli with funds readily available."
Ipswich could be transformed like Brisbane for Expo 88
IPSWICH administrator Greg Chemello said the honour of hosting an Olympic Games in our own backyard would be secondary to the tangible and lasting economic and community benefits a successful bid would bring.
Mr Chemello said it "cannot be underestimated how significant" the Games coming to southeast Queensland would be for Ipswich; the city could be transformed in the same way Brisbane was for Expo 88.
"There are real transport benefits, economic benefits, legacy benefits, tourism benefits," he said.
"Obviously, we need key infrastructure in Ipswich, including a Norman St Bridge, a rail line from Springfield to Ripley to Ipswich Central, and fast rail which connects residents of Ipswich to Brisbane City within 20 minutes.
"A point which arose from the (SEQ) Council of Mayors' feasibility study (released in February) is that quality sporting facilities will also not be reliant on an Olympic bid - these are needed by the community and it makes sense for us to push the case for quality facilities, stadiums and infrastructure in one of Australia's fastest growing cities."
Mr Chemello said by 2032, the Brisbane Lions boutique stadium at Springfield Central would be running and a redeveloped North Ipswich Reserve Stadium - which could feature NRL and A-League matches - should also be a reality.
"The city will have more than 450,000 people," he said. "An Olympics, if it happens, will create a perpetual legacy.
"We could have an amazing opportunity to witness the world's best athletes. But, in my view, it will be secondary to the tangible and lasting economic and community benefits which will make Ipswich an even greater place to live and grow.
"There is much work to be done before the state and local leaders decide to bid. But if the feasibility case stacks up, Ipswich residents will be winners."
The feasibility study found operational budget for an SEQ games would be approximately $5.3 billion, which is offset by IOC contributions ($1.7 billion) and domestic revenue ($2.7 billion), resulting in a net cost of $900 million.