Miles volte-face on ‘the Gabba’ demolition


The Gabba revamp cancelled Image: Government of Queensland

The Queensland (Australia) Premier Steven Miles has backflipped on his commitment to accept all of the recommendations from a report into venues for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Games after it called for ‘The Gabba’ in Woolloongabba to be knocked down and a new stadium constructed.

‘9 NEWS’ stated that instead of following the report, the Government has decided that the Suncorp Stadium in Milton will be upgraded so it can host the opening and closing ceremonies, as will the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC) so it can host athletics, while ‘The Gabba’ will get a revamp as well.

The 2032 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXXV Olympiad and also known as Brisbane 2032, is an upcoming international multisport event scheduled to take place between July 23rd to August 8th, 2032 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

The 42,000-capacity Brisbane Cricket Ground, commonly known as ‘the Gabba’, is a major sports stadium in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Australia. The nickname ‘Gabba’ derives from the suburb of Woolloongabba, in which it is located.

The Suncorp Stadium is a multipurpose stadium in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, located in the suburb of Milton. The current facility comprises a three-tiered rectangular sporting stadium with a capacity to hold 52,500 people.

The Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (QSAC) is a multipurpose sports facility in Brisbane, Australia that hosts athletics competitions, concerts and other events. It has two international standard running tracks, a 48,500-seat stadium, a 2,100-seat facility, an eight-court beach volleyball complex, and other spaces for holding functions and meetings.

‘9 NEWS’ further stated that the independent Games review, led by the former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, made 30 recommendations, including that a “world-class” $3.4 billion stadium be built at the Victoria Park (an inner suburb of Perth, the capital of the Australian State of Western Australia) as the host venue for the 2032 Games.

Quirk also called for ‘the Gabba’ to be eventually demolished and turned into a green space, saying it was too old to retain and estimating renovation costs would likely exceed $3 billion for a full rebuild.

Quirk stated at a presser, “‘The Gabba’ was going to need to be replaced and it is never going to be a tier one stadium because of the limitations of space.”

But the Premier, who had previously committed to accepting Quirk’s recommendations before they were released, said the cost of demolishing the “beloved” ‘the Gabba’ and constructing a replacement elsewhere was too much.

He said while the Government would accept 27 of the recommendations, the other three – including the demolition of the Gabba – would not go ahead – “I cannot justify spending $3.4 billion on a new stadium. I ordered this review because I had heard from Queenslanders that $2.7 billion at ‘the Gabba’ was too much… $3.4 billion at the Victoria Park will be too much. I am ruling that out… I know that I said I’d do what the Quirk review recommended, but I cannot support the option that they have landed on. I cannot support building a brand-new stadium while the Queenslanders are doing it as tough as I know that they are.”

The review advised the Government against using the QSAC as an Olympic venue, but instead, the almost 50,000-seat facility will receive a significant upgrade so it can host the athletics events, which could cost up to $1 billion.

Miles said he had accepted the recommendation to build a new stadium – the Brisbane Arena – in the Roma St Parklands.

He said the total cost of all the upgrades and construction will remain at the original $7.1 billion price tag, and that not demolishing ‘the Gabba’ means cricket and the Australian Football League (AFL) would be able to remain at the venue “throughout the entire Games preparation”.

The Brisbane Live Arena is a proposed 17,000-seat sports and entertainment venue to be built in the heart of the City – above the new Roma Street underground train station. It will be built as part of Brisbane 2032. The arena is part of a $2 billion precinct that will also include underground rail and bus service.

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