‘The Gabba’ will be ‘more than just a stadium’


The Gabba rebuild gets support Image: Government of Queensland

The Department Head delivering Queensland’s Olympic venues has defended the $2.7 billion The Gabba (stadium in Woolloongabba, Australia) spend, saying it will be “more than just a stadium”, with shops, homes and community spaces such as galleries and museums to be included in the 24/7 precinct.

‘Brisbane Times’ stated that the State Development Director-General Mike Kaiser also rejected claims recently that the East Brisbane State School could have survived in its current location had the Government chosen to renovate sections of The Gabba instead of building a brand-new replacement.

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 ‘The Gabba’ derives from the suburb of Woolloongabba, in which it is located.

‘Brisbane Times’ further stated that under strong questioning from Coalition and Greens Senators on the first day of a Federal inquiry into Australia’s preparedness to host the Olympic games, Kaiser said the rundown The Gabba was due to come to the end of its life in 2030.

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 proposed to be held between July 23rd-August 8th, 2032 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Commented Kaiser, “And, without a doubt, the value-for-money outcome is a teardown and rebuild. The cheapest of the other options was still $2.2 billion, and it would have been a refurbishment that would have denied us the opportunities to integrate it into the surrounding community and create those legacy benefits. And a refurbishment, as opposed to a rebuild, also comes with considerable risk.”

The Gabba, Brisbane’s home of cricket and the Australian Football League (AFL), will be the main venue for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. It will also host the opening and closing ceremonies.

The inquiry heard again that an upgrade was necessary regardless of the Games.

But Greens Senator Penny Allman-Payne put it to Kaiser that the historic primary school would not have to close if the Government chose another venue for athletics, such as the Gold Coast’s 27,500-capacity Carrara Stadium in Carrara, Australia, or Brisbane’s 48,500-capacity Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (formerly QEII) in Nathan, Australia.

Said Payne, “If you were rebuilding [the Gabba] for AFL and cricket as the legacy and you didn’t have to fit in athletics track, it would seem to me that you would be able to do that within its existing footprint.”

Kaiser responded that each of the options, “whether it was refurbishment or rebuilding, required the East Brisbane State School to close”.

The department boss repeatedly drew the Senators back to his central point that the new Gabba had the broader aim of urban renewal, while linking it via new footbridges to the Brisbane Arena, South Bank and the central business district (CBD).

As for the stadium, he said it would have more seats, better disability access, female change rooms, more roof coverage, reliable digital connectivity, and new transport links – “And, really importantly, [we have] the opportunity to make it … a genuine community asset that’s enlivened. I was with the Deputy Premier in Los Angeles recently, for example, where we toured the SoFi Stadium … which contains within it an African American museum and art gallery, which has become a real community asset. That’s our aspiration for The Gabba.”

Earlier, the Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate told the inquiry that using the existing athletics and swimming facilities in his jurisdiction would have been better value than the $2.7 billion The Gabba precinct and the Commonwealth-funded $2.5 billion Brisbane Arena.

The inquiry now heads to Melbourne, where the questioning will likely center on Victoria’s dumping of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

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