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Gabba set for major revamp to serve as Olympics centrepiece

The Gabba in Brisbane is set to undergo major redevelopment work as part of plans for the stadium to serve as the centrepiece of the proposed 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Queensland.

In February, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed Brisbane as its preferred candidate to host the 2032 Games, with the Australian city having been commended for its venue masterplan.

The IOC is currently engaged with detailed discussions with the Brisbane 2032 committee and the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) about the city’s potential to host the Games. If, as expected, Brisbane is awarded rights, it would become the third Australian city to host the summer Olympics after Melbourne in 1956 and Sydney in 2000.

Plans for the proposed Games are now starting to take shape and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has today (Tuesday) revealed that The Gabba has been proposed as the main stadium for the event.

Palaszczuk said: “Every Games needs a home. The Gabba has been home to our sport since 1895. A home for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games could be its crowning glory.”

The stadium has a current capacity of 42,000 and is primarily used for cricket but also hosts AFL and other sports. A potential upgrade to the stadium, which is formally known as the Brisbane Cricket Ground, would increase its capacity to around 50,000. Design firm Populous has provided concept designs for a possible upgrade of the stadium.

The plans would include a new pedestrian plaza linking the stadium to the Cross River Rail station, which is currently under construction. The plaza could also serve as a Games hub with concerts and potential medal presentations, Palaszczuk said.

Palaszczuk said that having the main stadium of the Games just two kilometres from the CBD gives Queensland an advantage other hosts have not had.

Palaszczuk added: “I can see the river lined with people watching big screens all taking part in the fun and excitement of the Games. There’s South Bank leading to West End which is connected to Roma Street via the Kurilpa Bridge with a new bridge under construction for the new Queen’s Wharf development. There are CityCats offering even more options for transport. All of this is infrastructure we already have.”

Palaszczuk told ABC that the stadium would be “completely rebuilt and raised up” and praised the Populous designs as “phenomenal”.

The announcement has been welcomed by Cricket Australia and Queensland Cricket. Nick Hockley, interim chief executive of Cricket Australia, said the redevelopment work would ensure The Gabba retained its status as a leading cricket venue for years to come.

Hockley added: “Just as the 2000 Olympics bestowed upon cricket the dual legacies of Stadium Australia and the Sydney Showground – both of which became international cricket venues – so, too, would the 2032 Brisbane Games equip The Gabba with state-of-the-art facilities to rival any stadium in the world.

“Australian cricket is fortunate to have had many of its major venues undergo upgrades in recent years and it would be wonderful to see The Gabba joining that list.”

The Gabba would join venues in Cairns, Townsville, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast on the Brisbane 2032 hosting plan.

Images: Queensland Government