Friday, July 19, 2024

Brisbane Lord Mayor quits Olympic leaders forum

Brisbane Lord Mayor, Adrian Schrinner, has quit the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum, slamming the group as “dysfunctional” and a “pointless talkfest”

“I will be resigning immediately from the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum,” Lord Mayor Schrinner announced via a media statement released on Sunday morning.

“Also, I will no longer fall into line and support the State Government’s current Gabba plan.

“This week it became very apparent that the Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum is a dysfunctional farce, a pointless talkfest established to placate key stakeholders while all the real decisions are made by the State Government behind closed doors.

“It has also become clear that there must be better options than demolishing and rebuilding the Gabba.”

The Lord Mayor described the Olympic and Paralympic Games as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Brisbane and Queensland, but the Queensland Government’s handling of the event preparations had put the Games’ legacy in jeopardy.

“…Unless the State Government’s approach changes, this opportunity will be squandered through mismanagement,” he said.

“I believe that the Government has completely lost its way on the road to the Games. This has put the promised legacy for our city, our region and our state in serious jeopardy.

“Ever since the Premier and I travelled to Tokyo together to secure the 2032 Games, I have been a committed team player, despite numerous setbacks and political differences.

“I have done this because I strongly believed that only by working together can we stage the best-ever Games and deliver a legacy that benefits all residents.

“However, it’s clear that the Games have become more about over-priced stadiums rather than the promise of vital transport solutions.”

The Lord Mayor said the State Government’s “ham-fisted and foolish attempt to extort Brisbane ratepayers for tens of millions of dollars for a new RNA stadium” was the final straw.

“This truly bizarre approach was undertaken because I had the temerity to back local fans and say Brisbane teams should play in Brisbane while the Gabba is torn down and rebuilt. How utterly absurd.”

Lord Mayor Schrinner said he wouldn’t be “bullied out of fighting for Brisbane residents”.

“Minister Stirling Hinchliffe’s blatant attempt to shake-down our Council with ridiculous demands for a sports stadium certainly won’t stop me.”

“Hosting the Games is a privilege, but this sad episode is just the latest example of the State’s determination to use the event as their own personal political plaything.

“First was the State’s last-minute decision, without consultation, to redevelop the Gabba for supposedly $1 billion and then every decision that has happened with the Gabba since.

“Then came the State’s decision to junk the promised independent coordination authority that was supposed to oversee Games infrastructure planning and delivery.”

He said the Government’s “farcical demands” over the RNA stadium demonstrated that the State was not interested in team work and that the Gabba rebuild should be independently re-evaluated.

“The Olympic and Paralympic Games are a huge opportunity. But the future of our community must take priority over four weeks of sport.”

“Just as the future of the Brisbane Lions and Heat must also be made a priority. If the State can’t find them a proper home, then they should remain where they are.

“I have no doubt there are good alternatives to the full demolition and rebuilding of the Gabba, but the State Government has never genuinely looked for them with an open mind.

“If they won’t do it, let’s appoint an independent body that will. We could even look at alternatives for the opening and closing ceremonies, such as events along the Brisbane River that are open to all.

“I have consistently advocated for the independent Games coordination authority That’s what the International Olympic Committee was promised. More importantly, that’s what Queenslanders were promised. Time is running out. Let’s not squander this opportunity of a lifetime.”

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