Friday, March 1, 2024

Nth Queensland Mayors call for fair share of Olympic infrastructure

North Queensland leaders are calling for action on promised Olympic legacy infrastructure for local government areas outside of Brisbane.

North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (NQROC) Chair and Burdekin Shire Council Mayor, Lyn McLaughlin said it was important for investments to be spread across the State to benefit all Queenslanders.

“The Brisbane 2032 Olympics were announced as an opportunity to create a legacy for all Queenslanders by leveraging the Games as a catalyst to enhance social, economic, and environmental outcomes for communities across the State,” Mayor McLaughlin said.

“To date, all planning being undertaken by Games partners is focused on South East Queensland and infrastructure which is arguably already of a world-class standard, while facilities and infrastructure across the rest of Queensland would be capable of hosting preliminary events and an influx of international tourists if investments were made in the regions. When will we begin to hear how regional Queensland will benefit from the 2032 Games?”

Townsville Mayor, Jenny Hill said meetings with the NQROC regarding Olympic 2032 legacy opportunities had so far failed to identify any clear direction or plans benefitting anywhere north of the Sunshine Coast.

“In recent weeks we have seen media reports of all manner of fanciful proposed infrastructure projects that would benefit Brisbane,” Mayor Hill said.

“The cost to deliver these would be in the billions and would not include the $6 billion plus already flagged for Brisbane 2032 Olympic infrastructure and transport.

“It is all well and good to promote Brisbane 2032 but they are using all of Queensland’s money.

“We understand there needs to be appropriate infrastructure investment in Brisbane and the South East, but we also need to ensure there is an equal focus on maximising the opportunity for North Queensland.”

Townsville Enterprise CEO, Claudia Brumme-Smith said the Olympics provided a rare chance for Townsville, North Queensland, to generate valuable sports and sports tourism economic opportunities.

“We want to work in collaboration with the Queensland Government to establish a local presence of the Queensland Academy of Sport in Townsville that incorporates an Indigenous Sporting Centre of Excellence, and a Northern Australian Centre of Excellence for Women’s Sport,” Ms Brumme-Smith said.

“Regional Queenslanders face a number of challenges compared to their metropolitan counterparts when it comes to accessing and being a part of high-level performance programs, whether they be sporting, cultural, or academic.

“Investments into high performance and development facilities will create opportunities for North Queenslanders to stay in the region and excel in their chosen field rather than having to give up their dreams or move to the South East corner.”

Mayor McLaughlin said future sporting stars needed training facilities outside the South East that met Olympic and Paralympic specifications.

“Dedicated development hubs would become key regional centres for the You for 2032 Talent Identification Program, and support emerging, pre-elite and elite athletes from across Northern Australia in their Olympics and Paralympics journeys,” she said.

“For North Queensland, that requires a mixture of not only upgrades to existing infrastructure such as change rooms, field lighting and venue extensions, but new facilities to hone existing talent and allow the next generation of North Australian sporting stars to have access to the same standard of training as our Southern counterparts.”

The leaders agreed that plans for considered investment in North Queensland would provide legacy infrastructure that would benefit regional communities across the whole of Northern Australia for decades to come.

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