AOC President supports reconsideration of $2.7bn Gabba redevelopment
Australian Olympic Committee president Ian Chesterman has voiced his support for calls to halt the proposed redevelopment of The Gabba stadium for the 2032 Brisbane Games, asserting that there exist “more innovative solutions” for the event.
Chesterman’s stance echoes remarks made by Olympic influencer John Coates, who also advocated abandoning the $2.7 billion renovation due to financial impracticality.
Asserting the Australian Olympic Committee’s backing for a comprehensive review of Games arrangements, Chesterman emphasised the International Olympic Committee’s directive for affordability and sustainability, favouring the utilization of existing or temporary infrastructures.
“We believe there are other, more creative solutions than rebuilding the Gabba for the Games which provide a legacy for our sports and even greater access for fans to an exceptional Olympic and Paralympic Games,” Chesterman said.
“We will put these ideas to the review committee.
Brisbane’s Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner declared the Gabba rebuild as, “dead, buried and cremated,” saying that Coates was “stating the obvious,” and highlighting the need for reconsideration of the plans.
“In the end all of this has happened because we stood up and we said this needs another look,” the Mayor said.
“I’m glad the state government has come on board, I’m glad John Coates is backing us up as well.
“There’s got to be a better option than wasting $2.7 billion on one stadium.”
The Gabba is scheduled for demolition after the Ashes Test in late-2025. In response to the controversy, the Queensland Government pledged $46 million for a temporary 20,000-seat stadium at Brisbane’s Showgrounds, with the remaining $91 million expected to be funded jointly by various stakeholders.
Despite the dissent, numerous sports commentators are advocating for the continuation of the Gabba’s renovation, citing its antiquity compared to other Australian stadiums.
ABC sports broadcaster Quentin Hull stated on X, ‘As frenzied and varied as the reaction to a rethink on the Gabba re-build has been, it’s commonplace for the road to planning and executing the Olympics to be bumpy. Calls the “scrap the whole thing” are a gross & unintelligent over reaction.’
Similarly, 3AW host Shane McInnes commented, “Excuse me? Scrap? There is no venue in Brisbane currently worthy of hosting an Olympics opening ceremony nor athletics events.
“Failure to upgrade the ‘Gabba now ahead of 2032 leaves Brisbane lagging as a sporting destination. Short sighted, political bull s**t at its finest.”
Awaiting the review’s outcomes are AFL club Brisbane Lions, who currently use The Gabba as their home ground. While the club refrained from commenting, a previous statement expressed support for The Gabba’s redevelopment, highlighting its significance as the 2023 grand finalists’ home for three decades and the anticipated benefits for fans and the wider community.
“The venue has been our home for the past 30 years and the redevelopment ensures it will be fit for purpose for the next 30 years,” Lions chairman Andrew Wellington stated.
“As a club we’re likely to hit 60,000 members in 2024, we’re the hirer attracting the largest crowds, we’ve had seven sell-outs this year and I have no doubt we will be filling the new Gabba on a regular basis prior to the Olympics and for years to come.
“There’s benefit here for commuters, event goers, new community spaces and the delivery of a commercial and a residential precinct inclusive of affordable housing opportunities.”
However, both the Lions and Queensland Cricket expressed reluctance to contribute millions of dollars for the upgrade of the Brisbane Showgrounds, which was proposed as a temporary venue during The Gabba’s reconstruction.