Queensland rejects call to review Gabba redevelopment

Featured image credit: Queensland Government

The state government in Queensland has rejected calls for a review of plans to redevelop The Gabba ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Brisbane.

The government, which is led by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, had been urged by a Senate Committee to rethink its vision to make The Gabba the centrepiece of the Games.

The Gabba is set for a A$2.7bn (£1.4bn/€1.6bn/$1.7bn) redevelopment, which will be funded by the Queensland government. The federal government is set to provide A$2.5bn in funding for the Brisbane Arena development, which will be known as Brisbane Live.

In addition, 16 new or upgraded venues will receive close to A$1.87bn in co-funding on a 50/50 basis between the two governments. The projects were unveiled in February as part of a funding agreement to overhaul Queensland’s sporting infrastructure ahead of Brisbane 2032.

The Gabba, formally known as Brisbane Cricket Ground, has a current capacity of 42,000 and is primarily used for cricket but also hosts AFL Aussie rules football and other sports. The Gabba will be fully demolished and rebuilt to a 50,000 capacity as part of a wider urban renewal development project that will also include social and affordable housing.

Last month, officials behind the delivery of Brisbane 2032 defended the contentious redevelopment of The Gabba after Games executives faced questioning from senators on the first day of a federal inquiry into Australia’s preparedness to stage the event.

Opposition to the project has focused on the requirement that East Brisbane State School be demolished and relocated to make way for the new-look stadium. An interim report released by a Senate committee last week said it may be “unwise and inappropriate” for the Queensland government to insist on redeveloping The Gabba ahead of the Games.

Stirling Hinchcliffe, Queensland’s Tourism and Sport Minister, has insisted the revamp will go ahead and The Gabba will serve as the centrepiece of Brisbane 2032.

“The Gabba is the way in which we will deliver a world-class experience not just for the Games, but for Queensland and for Brisbane for decades to come,” he said, according to the Australian Associated Press.

He added that a validation report on the project was underway.

The current stadium is deemed to be nearing the end of its life and the redevelopment intends to support the long-term professional sport, community and entertainment needs of the city before and after 2032. For Brisbane 2032, it is intended to host Olympic and Paralympic athletics and ceremonies.

Australia had also been due to stage the 2026 Commonwealth Games, but the state government in Victoria announced in July that it would not be proceeding with hosting the event due to rising costs.