He was the sole voice of opposition to Brisbane City Council’s bid to host the Olympics but Greens councillor Jonathan Sri is adamant the negative impacts outweigh the positive.
The council’s confidential meeting this week included briefings from president of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) John Coates and the president of the Paralympics Committee Jock O’Callaghan.
The vote to formalise Brisbane’s commitment to the Games has paved the way for a formal bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games. It received bipartisan support with Sri the only dissenter.
Media and the public were barred from the meeting, to protect the locations of potential developments and any impacts it would have on property prices, the council said.
“While hosting undoubtedly offers some positive opportunities, after considering all the available information, I was concerned that the negative impacts upon our city will outweigh the benefits,” Sri said.
“Evidence from recent Olympics points to major cost overruns, significant disruption to residents, superfluous sports infrastructure that’s not as useful long-term as proponents might have suggested, and economic benefits flowing predominantly to major corporations rather than local businesses.”
Sri said taxpayers would have to foot the bill, estimated to be about $900 million, to develop new sporting venues.
An IOC feasibility study highlighted Brisbane’s need for about 20 per cent more sporting facilities.
Sri said the council and state governments were negotiating with the IOC over a new 50,000-seat stadium earmarked for Albion.
The Brisbane bid includes plans for seven new venues across the southeast corner, but that could be reduced to two with the use of existing facilities.
“While some of the infrastructure built for the Olympics can certainly leave a positive legacy and lasting public benefit, it’s almost inevitable that we’ll also spend public money building Olympics-standard sports facilities that we don’t really need and wouldn’t otherwise waste money on,” Sri said.
Brisbane was announced as a preferred candidate in February.
Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner said the formalised commitment to the Games bid had received bipartisan support which was a “strong result”.
He said the Games presented a good value proposition for the city and he hoped they would receive the green light as early as July, when the Tokyo Games were due to begin.
“Brisbane City Council voted yes to the jobs that will be created, yes to the opportunities this will bring to our city, yes to the opportunity this will bring to our region and our state and yes to the bring forward and fast tracking of infrastructure and investment in our region that will service the needs of a growing population,” Schrinner said.
The final submission from the three levels of government and the AOC is due in April.