Review suggests Brisbane Olympics organizers build a new stadium, scrap plans to redevelop the Gabba

BRISBANE, Australia — An independent review committee has recommended Brisbane Olympics organizers build a new stadium on a greenfield site and scrap plans to demolish and redevelop a century-old cricket ground as the centerpiece for the 2032 Games.

Brisbane’s former mayor Graham Quirk led a two-month review which handed its findings to the Queensland state government on Monday.

The review suggested that building a new 55,000-seat stadium at Victoria Park, just to the north of the city’s downtown, would cost marginally more than rebuilding the Gabba but would have significantly more benefit.

Quirk told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. that the cost to build the stadium on land that was formerly a council-owned golf course “is likely to be marginally more expensive than the full Gabba rebuild with better operational efficiencies and outcomes that would deliver a true international standard venue.”

“If a full Gabba rebuild was to occur, you still don’t end up with a top-level tier one stadium because of the fact that it’s very limited by space, and for that reason, that’s where we landed on Victoria Park,” he told ABC radio on Monday. “This is about building what is needed, and a legacy for the people of Queensland.”

Debate over the plan to demolish and rebuild the existing stadium in the suburb of Woollongabba, originally built in 1895 and most recently redeveloped in 2005, has raged since the plan was confirmed in November.

Australian Olympic Committee president Ian Chesterman last month indicated he didn’t like the idea of rebuilding an aging stadium as one of its centerpiece venues for the 2032 Games.

International Olympic Committee vice-president John Coates, who was instrumental in helping secure the Summer Games for Australia’s third-largest city, also offered alternatives to the Gabba.

“We’ve put it to the review committee we should abandon the Gabba and we should look for another site for the athletics,” Coates told local media last month.

He’s proposed the opening ceremony be held at 52,000-seat Suncorp Stadium, formerly known as Lang Park, and track and field at the 48,000-capacity Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre, the venue for the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

Under the original plan, the Queensland state government unveiled a 2.7 billion Australian dollar ($1.7 billion) Gabba rebuild that would have forced cricket and the Brisbane Lions Australian Rules Football team to relocate from 2025 to 2030.

Critics pointed to escalating costs after the plan’s price tag blew out to almost three times the original estimate in the Olympic bid.

In announcing the review in January, Queensland state Premier Steven Miles said he hoped the independent process could create options that were better value for money.

Brisbane won the 2032 hosting rights in July 2021, when the bid was led by state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. The long-standing premier quit in December amid falling opinion polling and was replaced by Miles, who insitaged the Olympics reivew.


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