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Olympic Recalibration: Key Recommendation of New Stadium Rejected by Government

60-Day Olympic Review Revealed

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Concept Victoria Park Olympic Stadium by Archipelago
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1 month ago18/03/24 at 4:55 AM

Queensland Government Rejects Recommendation for Victoria Park Stadium

The Queensland Government has announced that it will adopt 27 of the 30 recommendations out of the Quirk review, however the big announcement is that it will not build the recommended new Olympic stadium and instead use Suncorp Stadium and the 1977 built QSAC (Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre) as the Olympic venues.

Despite the review stating that a $1.5bn upgrade of QSAC “does not represent value for money”, the government plans to upgrade the nathan facility and Suncorp Stadium, subject to due diligence and consultation with games partners.

The government will proceed with the recommendation to build the Brisbane Arena (formerly known as Brisbane Live) at the northern corner of Roma Street Parklands.

The previously proposed re-build of the Gabba will not proceed, instead replaced with a more modest enhancement of the existing facility in consultation with AFL, Cricket Australia, and other stakeholders. Those sports will no longer be displaced from the Gabba, and East Brisbane State School will not need to vacate its current site by the end of 2025. However future works to the Gabba are expected to impact the school, and the government will work closely with the school community as those plans develop.

In a significant turn of events, a monumental recommendation has been made to abandon the contentious Gabba rebuild in favour of constructing a state-of-the-art $3.4 billion 55,000 seat stadium at Victoria Park, situated in inner-Brisbane.

The proposal, unveiled in a review of Olympic venues by former Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, also advocates for the development of the new Brisbane Live indoor arena costing $2.5 billion at Roma Street Parkland, adjacent to the Normanby fiveways intersection.

The review, conducted over a 60-day period, was initiated by Premier Steven Miles in response to public dissatisfaction surrounding the Gabba project championed by former Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

It considered over 900 public submissions, assessed 28 potential venue sites, and engaged with 130 stakeholders.

In the end, it concluded that a 55,000-seat oval stadium at Victoria Park would offer the optimal solution for both the Olympic Games and the city at large.

Concept Victoria Park Olympic Stadium by Archipelago

Additionally, the review rejects the proposal to host athletics events at Nathan, citing concerns over cost-effectiveness, poor mass transit access and legacy.

Revealing the actual cost of the Gabba redevelopment, including displacement costs for AFL and cricket, the review estimates a total expenditure of up to $3.4 billion—$700 million more than initially claimed by the State Government.

Concept Victoria Park Olympic Stadium by Archipelago

The cost of a stadium in Victoria Park is likely to be marginally more expensive than the full Gabba rebuild, with better operational efficiencies and outcomes that would deliver a true international standard venue enabling Brisbane to compete with other top stadiums in Australia

60-day review of Olympic Infrastructure

The review recommends the establishment of an entertainment arena in the inner city to replace the aging Brisbane Entertainment Centre at Boondall.

While the preferred site for this arena was initially proposed to be over the new Cross River Rail station at Roma Street, perceived logistical complexities involving rail line disruption and financial constraints of an estimated $4 billion led to an alternative recommendation.

Instead, it recommends building Brisbane Live at a the non-parkland northern corner of Roma Street precinct which currently houses a carpark and workshop depot. This corner was originally set aside by the former Beattie government for a landmark public museum-style building.

BrisbaneDevelopment.com concept image of recommended new Brisbane Live location

Mr. Quirk emphasises the necessity of swift action in clarifying and confirming funding arrangements with the Australian Government to ensure the realisation of the revised Olympic venue works.

He commends Mr. Miles’s initiative to establish a dedicated and independent Olympic delivery authority, advocating for expedited procurement processes to mitigate cost escalations.

Premier Steven Miles said on Sunday that there would be no more reviews following this 60-day review and promised that an independent Olympic organising authority would take over all planning decisions going forward immediately – which is a stark contrast to the previous decisions of the Palaszczuk-Labor government which didn’t set up such an authority.

Concept Victoria Park Olympic Stadium by Archipelago

In light of the impending international attention that the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games will bring, the review underscores the importance of delivering legacy sporting venues efficiently.

It acknowledges the intense community interest surrounding these developments and highlights the potential of the Games as a catalyst for social and economic growth.

While the review primarily focuses on sports venues, it does not encompass assessments of athlete villages or other infrastructure projects outside the scope of the sports venues program.

The fate of the Gabba stadium itself is also not yet known as the operational costs of maintaining the stadium as is would cost around $500 million over the next decade. Ideas have been floated from creating new parkland and affordable housing to other public infrastructure.

It is not yet known if the Miles-led Queensland government will accept Quirk’s recommendations, however with an impending state election, adopting recommendations by the the former Brisbane LNP mayor Graham Quirk would assist in depoliticising the Olympic games infrastructure development before the Olympic organising authority can be formed.

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44 Comments
  • Incredible outcome for Brisbane if realised. Hopefully they consider Archipelago’s upgrade of centenary pool while they’re at it.

    • It’s an obsenity to spend what will probably end up as over $5 billion years f public money, destroying a well planned and much needed public parkland to build the sort of unnecessary eyesore white elephant Olympic carcass

      I will literally lie in from of the bulldozers if this goes ahead!

      • Get ready to lie in front of those bulldozers Peter, because if there is a public transport corridor planned to go out to the QSAC venue it’ll be highly likely to go through the Toohey forest. (I just can’t see them dig through the Mt Gravatt cemetery.)

        That’s prime forest koala habitat you’ll have to defend from demolition, not some discreet row of trees growing between old golf fairways.

        Then again, who knows if there’s actually going to be any mass-transit public transport actually built for the QSAC site. Would it be justified if the QSAC venue is just going to be scaled back after the games are over?

    • I will just make up a new last resort solution. Have a Temporary Stadium made of shipping containers on the vacant parking lot spaces at Hamilton, host the main events including the opening and closing ceremonies, then after the Games, disassemble the venue, sell it off to the next host city and then redevelop the site with mixed use development. People will be able to take express ferry services and buses such as the new planned Gold Glider to get to the venue. You also have Doomben station and plenty of parking areas nearby near the Airport. Good access from the nearby Gatewayas well. The location coordinates of where this Temporary stadium would be built is 27°26’23.9″S 153°04’31.1″E and it would be known as Stadium 32. Qatar built a temporary shipping container stadium as one of the main venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, so I don’t see why Brisbane can’t do the same with the 2032 Olympics.

  • The only way to keep Vic Park as envisioned would be for the stadium to replace the driving range and existing facilities.

  • This is the last swathe of significant public greenspace in the city. Please do not slap a stadium on top of it.

    Our children will not thank us for a stadium where we could have had 24hr publicly accessible parkland, with views to the city.

    NYC would be shit if they built a stadium in central park- resume some redundant buildings that are coming to their end of life and build on top of those.

  • This would be a disgrace in losing a wonderful park in our inner city. Victoria park provides a small heaven in the city of concrete and glass.

  • What a joke. Just what we need, more Colosseums. Victoria Park was a great golf course. Now that the golfers got booted for public open space the idiot politicians & opportunistic developers want to fill it with concrete & glass. For what? Entertainment facilities. Brisbane city consumes far too many resources & money which is diverted from other more deserving communities desperate for useful infrastructure. Build something useful that everyone can benefit from.

  • Or another alternative, cancel the damn thing. Keep the park for its original purpose and spend the billions on housing. I didn’t vote for having it. Why politicians still think having a olympics is the best thing for a city is beyond me. Did Tokyo benefit from just having it?

    • I will just make up a new last resort solution. Have a Temporary Stadium made of shipping containers on the vacant parking lot spaces at Hamilton, host the main events including the opening and closing ceremonies, then after the Games, disassemble the venue, sell it off to the next host city and then redevelop the site with mixed use development. People will be able to take express ferry services and buses such as the new planned Gold Glider to get to the venue. You also have Doomben station and plenty of parking areas nearby near the Airport. Good access from the nearby Gatewayas well. The location coordinates of where this Temporary stadium would be built is 27°26’23.9″S 153°04’31.1″E and it would be known as Stadium 32. Qatar built a temporary shipping container stadium as one of the main venues for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, so I don’t see why Brisbane can’t do the same with the 2032 Olympics.

  • So at the moment you have a public facility of the gabba used for sport. And you have a green space in the midlle of the city. This new idea will mean the Gabba will close and become housing development because the lions have already said they are ready to move to VIC park. 1 or 2 international cricket games is not going to allow the Gabba to survive. So in the end you have a housing jungle at the Gabba and you have no green space in the middle of the city. How’s this a win for the public. This is about the East Brisbane school. Surely you can design a stadium that will keep the school and the suburbs culture. Problem solved. I’m just making it clear that this will be the end of the gabba and will change that suburb for ever.

    • Losing the Gabba isn’t necessarily a bad thing. That’s space for a park or school oval, which would be beneficial to the suburb as a whole. It doesn’t have to be sold off to developers for housing.

      If the Gabba goes, I’d like to see the existing East Brisbane school remain in place. That’s your school/ stadium dilemma resolved. Plus there’s space to expand when the inevitable future demand requires a bigger school. I’d also hope developers who’ve already poured money into surrounding residential buildings would be gunning for a park/ green space as well: it makes highrise living in the Gabba that much more attractive.

      Whether you like it or not, the suburb of Wooloongabba is going to change regardless of a stadium upgrade or demolition. You might as well opt for the better of the changes.

      I hope this becomes a land-use swap: green space removed from Victoria Park is given to the southside. There’s potential for a win for both the Wooloongabba suburb and the public as a whole.

      • Greg,

        Certainly, the Gabba site does not *have* to be sold off to developers. However, let’s be realistic – if the Gabba is demolished, the site *will* be sold off to developers. Perhaps a small amount would be retained as parkland, or perhaps the developers will kindly include a “village green” in the development which people are able to use as long as the owners of the land (whether a company or an owner’s corporation) consents to it being used by people.

        • James,

          you’d have to do a land swap for this to happen (Vic Park is local council land, Gabba is state government land.) So it would be up to council to *sell* their own land to developers. And that’s a higher bar to pass, especially given the local community’s responses (just look at how they reacted to closing down Brisbane East State School.)

          It’s quite feasible to argue that there *won’t* be a large scale land selloff to the developers.

  • How does the Vic park proposal address transport?
    Cross River Rail has a station being built adjacent to the Gabba right now which would become redundant under this ludicrous proposal.

    • The new Cross-River rail station is still a valid station without the Gabba: there’s plenty of residential density already in the area (plus more in the pipeline) to justify it’s existence. There’s plenty of arguments for the station’s necessity long before any olympics were announced.

      Vic Park is actually one of the best locations for public transport. You’ve got the exhibition line running right by the southern side. And there’s the future metro line (currently a bus-only covered roadway) wrapping along the western and northern sides. There’s even two metro/ bus stations in place at Kelvin Grove and Herston.

      Of course, there would have to be a brand new train station built to accommodate the new stadium and venues. But it would be above ground, so much cheaper than the other Cross-River stations.

    • The Gabba isn’t a park it’s a facility owned by the state government and is run by the trust on their behalf. They are not not going build another stadium and not use the land to compensate the construction of a new stadium. It’s not much different to area like south bank which is a state government entity where a lot of the space has been been developed for commercial use. Woolloongabba will be just another suburb with large amounts of unit development mainly due to the cross river rail.

    • James,

      Yes we can be cynical and *expect* a fair bit of the Gabba site to be sold off to developers. However, don’t forget that the Gabba PLUS the Cross-River-Rail site represents two entire city blocks of land. Even the hardest cynic can see there’s still enough room for park/ gardens/ green space. It’s alot easier to dictate terms of use when government owns the land -they certainly have the authority to set down how much of the space is set aside for greenery/ parks.

      And if you’re thinking it’s just another opportunity for crooked politicians to sell out to greedy developers, just look how big an influence people-protest power has been in this suburb. Plans for East Brisbane State School have shifted dramatically due to community input.

      Personally I think the 15% of land being taken from Victoria Park is a good use for it. Anyone taking a walk in Victoria Park will quickly realise how noisy and unusable this section of the park is due to the nearby ICB.

  • Stupid idea/proposal. Leave the green oasis of Victoria Park alone. As a Brisbanite currently living in Sydney, Brisbane trumps other cities in terms of its parks and green environment. Let’s keep it that way. There is a great video on Youtube where Mel Pilkos proposes building a super stadium (not just a shitty 50 000 capacity stadium) next to the Gabba without interrupting the Lions, Heat and other teams using the Gabba and having revenue still come in. Also, the development of Brisbane Live shouldn’t be conditional upon the development of Brisbane Park. Let’s reuse land/property that can be done so instead of destroying beautiful parkland unnecessarily.

    • Or here’s an idea – leave the Gabba as is and spend the money on something that is actually needed!

      • The Gabba is not up to code. It only has 8 years left. I’m sorry but I’m not ok with Brisbane having shitty crumbling infrastructure

  • Cancel the games , and use the funds for public housing, more nurses and police on the ground !!
    That will get Labor a lot more votes than these white elephants

  • What a joke! Spend billions dollars on cross river station for better game day access to the Gabba. That would be a waste of money if move to Vic park.
    Keep it simple and give the Gabba a facelift whilst keep the structures as per original plan prior to winning the Olympics bid.

      • Cross river rail was not built just to make getting to game day easier at the Gabba. It was to ease congestion on the train line routes and help facilitate more regular train services.

  • What a joke.
    There are other areas outside of Brisbane that desperately need help.
    Cancel the games and put “the borrowed money” to better use elsewhere in the state,
    Such as repairs due to heavy rains, new infrastructure for housing estates, public housing estates, other infra structure improvements in regional areas.
    Wake up Brisbane

  • This desecration of Victoria Park is an utter and enormously expensive disgrace. It is also opposite to the written views of Cr Vicki Howard and Lord Mayor Schrinner prior to their re-election. No-one should doubt the public opposition to this proposal and the damage this will do to public support for the Olympics. Roma St gardens will also be desecrated. Brisbane Arena is a great project and should be built where originally proposed. The costs of all of this are going to be huge in money and permanent damage to the city.

    • If I wasbuilding Brisbane Live, I would knock down where Myers used to be and put it in there.

    • If you cancel the games then we pay $500M in costs to the IOC. Also half the funding will be reabsorbed by the federal government as it was 50%/50% with the state government.

  • If the stadium’s to go ahead at Victoria Park; there has to be at least 3 objectives met

    1. Build a train station adjacent to the venue and upgrade the existing metro stops at Kelvin Grove and Herston.
    This is the only way to get the masses to the venue by using all available public transport options. This is an easy win since both Metro and Exhibition Lines run right next to the proposed venue.

    2. Cover as much of the ICB as possible. Anyone visiting Victoria Park will know how much traffic noise the park experiences. Imagine the games being drowned out by noisy mufflers and rush-hour congestion. Adding overhead pedestrian bridges (such as the one already existing at York’s Hollow) will dampen traffic noise and link the new venue to a future train station AND link Gregory Tce parklands. Bonus points for making them green pedestrian bridges (like the existing one at York’s Hollow) to keep the whole area a public green space.

    3. Ensure the venue is fit for olympics: no miniscule 50 thousand capacity: that would make it the smallest stadium in modern history. Repeat the Sydney Olympics stadium and ensure there’s enough seating for the games, but reconfigurable to a smaller capacity post-olympics.

    As a side note, Brisbane already has too many stadiums that lie vacant for long periods. One of the existing ones should go. I’d expect ANZ stadium (built for the Commonwealth Games back in the 80’s) is past it’s use-buy date. Demolish it and sell the land off to recover some of these enormous construction costs.

  • This is an absolutely horrible idea.. The current plan to rejuvenate Victoria Park is amazing, and building a stadium on it would absolutely ruin what is supposed to become really beautiful nature space for all to enjoy. This would be a disaster and god help us if it happens.

    • Firstly, it is only 12% of the park that the stadium will be on. Secondly, that park is horrendously noisy due to the ICB right next to it so its really not a “really beautiful nature space”.

  • Considering both labor and Liberal parties are being encroached on by the greens in the inner city,, think whoever makes the decision needs to read the room. I only voted liberal last time because I thought Victoria Park would be our Central Park.

  • Build the new stadium on top ov thee new Woolloongabba Station and knock down the Gabba and build a Brisbane Sphere .

  • It’s an obsenity to spend what will probably end up as over $5 billion years f public money, destroying a well planned and much needed public parkland to build the sort of unnecessary eyesore white elephant Olympic carcass

    I will literally lie in from of the bulldozers if this goes ahead!

  • Plenty of options given to the government and they choose by far the worst option. Brisbane is so far behind other cities in terms of sporting and entertainment facilities.

  • The focus appears to be on the stadium which is placed mostly over the airspace of the ICB and rail line so a little moot bar the likely additional cost of building over the airspace. One other stadium appears to be over the Centenary pool so a relatively neutral net difference with the third stadium being on the Spring Hill side.

    More concerning is the total silence on the very obvious high density residential development on the ridge of Barrambin where the old golf course club house and driving range are located. This is the component that results in a large net loss of of Barrambin Park land space. It would appear to be a back handed way to compensate some of the land via building an “athletes village” and then selling it off to offset concept development cost.

    The stadium concept also ignores the opportunity for incorporating multi-use elements. Rather than a white elephant devoid of any use outside an event, incorporate restaurants, shops, bars, even a hotel (refer to Shanghai for examples). This brings life to the otherwise silent space outside events and would balance South Bank nicely as a multi-use space for the city. That is definitely a lost opportunity rather than the grab of parkland for the residential development.

    • Good news about those “very obvious high density residential development on the ridge of Barrambin”
      These are just concept plans from an architect not involved in the report: They were using the renders to push their own independent suggestion to move the athletes village closer to the stadiums.

      The report never included any decisions to move the athlete’s village from it’s current planned spot at Hamilton. So no, there won’t any gobbling up of public land to build high-rises.

  • What really burns me is the absolute waste of money this new decision is. It’s like taking the money set aside for a brand new car and instead putting shiny rims and a new paint job on two clapped-out dilapidated 1980’s Holden Commodores.

    The money poured into QSAC is going to be used for temporary seating only. The whole venue is scheduled to be scaled back post-games to a smaller capacity. All that money poured into a stadium that’s in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by huge stroads and a cemetery. What fantastic scenery you’ll be able to admire as you sit atop the scaffolding. It doesn’t even have decent public transport options -how’s that going to be a legacy asset?

    And the Gabba is reaching the end if its lifespan as well -too much concrete cancer, worn out power conduits, inadequate facilities. The ‘smaller amount’ of money being set aside is just to get the place up to scratch to allow for ambulance and fire services access. There’s nothing addressing the fundamental structural issues. Brisbane will be spending another 3 billion AFTER the games are over to replace the Gabba once it becomes condemned.

    So there you go -instead of having a nice new shiny car in 2032, you’ll be stuck with a rust-bucket stripped down for spare parts and a complete conker in it’s last legs that will desperately need replacing. Great job Brisbane! What great foresight.

      • Agreed. Delaying the inevitable is not going to make the cost less. It will be cheaper to build it now instead of in the future! Also Brisbane and Queensland need this the Gabba is the pits!

  • What about all the ‘unknown costs’ associated with the state government’s decision to refurb Suncorp/ Gabba/ QSAC?

    Suncorp stadium is currently heavily used all year round, hosting both the Broncos and Dolphins, the Roar and Queensland Reds.
    We saw it would cost millions to relocate the Cricket and AFL to a temporary stadium at the Ekka grounds. Do we really expect the NRL, A-league and Qld Rugby to foot the bill to relocate whilst Suncorp is being upgraded? How much will it cost to relocate all these teams, and where will they play? It certainly won’t be QSAC…. No one’s talking about it, and it doesn’t look to be costed into any modelling.

    QSAC also has no mass public transport -we’re seeing this week the fact that costs to build a metro spur have not been included in the modelling.

    And as stated before: the future cost of repairing/ replacing a condemned Gabba stadium isn’t even considered.

    Will these be future costings that only comes up later on, once additional costs have been ‘fully assessed’? Will this make a mockery of Milne’s decision to go the ‘cheaper’ option?

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