Gabba revamp could exceed A$1bn

Queensland’s Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has admitted that the cost of redeveloping The Gabba to become the centrepiece of Brisbane’s staging of the 2032 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games could exceed the proposed A$1bn (£576.9m/€681.8m/$697.2m) price tag.

Palaszczuk has said she is comfortable with plans for both The Gabba and Brisbane Live, a proposed 18,000-capacity arena for the city that is also set to be a Brisbane 2032 venue, after concerns were raised last week that additional construction was required to allow the facilities to be built for the Olympics.

Concerning the financing of The Gabba redevelopment, Palaszczuk said there would be a business case presented, with the state government “working through all those issues at the moment”. When asked how the government had determined the project would cost A$1bn, Palaszczuk said this figure was based on cost estimates at the time of the initial announcement in April 2021.

“Of course now we understand that there’s been a lot of increase in… shortages of supply and materials, they’re worldwide issues,” she said, according to Australian broadcaster ABC.

Questioned specifically if she anticipated the redevelopment would cost more than A$1bn, Palaszczuk maintained officials are yet to receive the final costs. “But of course we’ll absolutely reveal those to the public,” she added.

Talk concerning the scale of The Gabba project has increased in recent weeks amid concerns that work will impact the local road network. It was reported last week that a proposal to tunnel under the streets had been made, but this would significantly increase the A$1bn price tag.

The cost of the Gabba project is set to be split 50-50 between the Queensland Government and Australian Government. “We’ve got an infrastructure spend from Commonwealth and state but let me say very clearly that what we signed up to with the International Olympic Committee – we will be delivering,” Palaszczuk added.

The Gabba has a current capacity of 42,000 and is primarily used for cricket but also hosts AFL Aussie rules football 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 IOC approved Brisbane as the home of the 2032 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in July 2021, culminating a process that stepped away from the traditional contests for the hosting rights.

The vote at the IOC Session in Tokyo, held on the eve of the postponed 2020 Games, ensures Australia will host its third Olympic Games, following on from Sydney 2000 and Melbourne 1956. The vote saw 72 IOC members vote in favour of the proposition, with five against and three abstentions.

Image: Queensland Government