Brisbane Olympics boss casts doubt over Gabba redevelopment plans

In Olympic Games

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The president of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games has cast doubt over the billion-dollar plan to redevelop the Gabba stadium as the event’s key venue.

Andrew Liveris used his maiden speech to call for submissions from design agencies to deliver the “brand” for the Games.

“It’s not just a brand for the Olympics. It’s a symbol for our future,” Mr Liveris told those attending the Queensland Media Club lunch at the Sofitel on Wednesday.

During the speech, he implied the redevelopment plans for the Gabba might prove too costly.

The government is carrying out a project validation report to confirm what the refit will cost, amid reports that it could blow out. 

“I’m a fan of the Gabba being what it is — I like that idea, as a Brisbane boy … but we don’t want to have a blown-out budget to do it.”

“I am completely, 100 per cent hired, deployed to implement what we agreed with the IOC (International Olympic Committee).

“If a change is needed … the binding agreements are great but they aren’t perfect.

“I’m sure that people responsible for looking at the cost, which is the government, will come eventually and say: ‘This is the better plan’.”

The outside of the Gabba stadium with crowds walking to and from.
An artist’s impression of the Gabba from the outside, for the 2032 Olympic Games.(Supplied: Queensland Government)

Brand needs to evoke a feeling

He said he expected the 2032 brand to do some “heavy lifting” to help deliver a cost-neutral Games.

“I take very seriously cost neutrality on the OCOG budget — which means revenue-raising … I know what it is to sell to customers,” he said.

“I want people to come well before the torch is lit and stay well after the flame is out.”

There will be a mascot and logo, which identifies with the region, but he said the brand needed to go further and evoke a feeling.

“We’re not Paris. We’re not London. We’re not LA — well, who are we?” he asked.

The international business leader — who grew up in Brisbane and Darwin and has worked with five US presidents — said Australia, inherently, had what most societies aspired to.

“We can be the gold standard for the planet right here,” Mr Liveris said.

“We are multi-dimensional in our attributes … we celebrate the achievements of our athletes and we are devoted to the education of our youth, and [to] safety and security.

“I list that as uniquely Australian.

“We should label that — brand that and deliver it.”

Mr Liveris said that, with democracies struggling around the world, there was a growing need to bring “politics, policy and society” together again, and that means the “inclusion of everyone with an equal voice”.

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