Brisbane Olympics 2032 (plans for infrastructure)

Tokyo has just closed the Olympic Games, as viewers watched on from home.

Many Aussies are already looking forward to 2032, when Brisbane will put on its own show for the world.

Although this is 11 long years away; planning has started to ensure these Games deliver an expected $8 billion in economic benefits to the state. Our construction sector has a mammoth task ahead, there’s no doubt about that.

But we also have one advantage that was never afforded to previous hosting nations.

Queensland has been given the longest time to prepare for their Olympic and Paralympic Games:

John Davies, CEO of Australian Constructors Association, says this is an incredible opportunity for the government and private sector to work together to show off Queensland; while setting the construction industry on a more sustainable path.

“Queensland will be the first host nation to deliver an Olympic Games within budget if it engages early with industry to get the planning right,” Mr Davies said.

“The Olympics really gives us the chance to think big and to create a new legacy that will build Queensland’s workforce capability and capacity and innovation. We need to plan the right infrastructure and appropriately stage it so we can efficiently deliver the project pipeline.”

There’s another world first too:

Olympic sporting venues will be spread across South East Queensland, rather than confined to one city (Brisbane). This hasn’t happened before.

Back in 2014, a Brisbane games taskforce suggested spreading the games around the wider South East Queensland region (with the capital at the heart of it all). They told the IOC these games would be more sustainable than what the world is used to, although the bidding process hadn’t officially begun at this stage.

Their vision was to predominantly use existing infrastructure, but also invest in new projects with long-term benefits for Queenslanders.

The Brisbane bid was successful because it coincided with new reforms the IOC introduced to cut down on waste and reduce the amount of money that cities spend on hosting the Games.

Did you know the Olympics is usually a massive financial burden for the city hosting it?

Research from Oxford looks at the last eight Summer Olympic Games. It turns out that host cities spent three times their original budget, on average.

Queensland hopes to avoid this fate by taking advantage of extra planning time to set up world-class sporting venues and infrastructure that can handle an influx of visitors.

Without going over budget, of course.

Right now, the initial operating budget comes to $4.5 billion – however this doesn’t include transport infrastructure. This is apparently being included in Queensland’s existing infrastructure budget (more than $50 billion over four years). 

In light of this, it’s still unclear what the full costs of the Olympics and Paralympics will be.

What we know of the plans so far:

“This is not so much about building new facilities or stadiums or sporting arenas — it’s about trying to use what we’ve got or upgrade what we’ve got.” Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner in an interview with the ABC.

Location of events in Queensland:

The biggest project will be a $1 billion redevelopment of the historic Gabba cricket stadium in Brisbane, which will host 50,000 spectators. This is where the opening and closing ceremonies will be held.

Other upgrade projects include:

Examples of new venues:

In terms of transport infrastructure, the Cross River Rail, Brisbane Metro and Coomera Connector projects will also be completed in time for the Games.

However, there are concerns this infrastructure won’t be enough to support Queensland’s growing population by 2032.

Transport challenges and opportunities:

Even when the Cross River Rail is completed, it may not be up to scratch for the influx of visitors expected to travel between regions during the Games. For example, high speed rail would be required to get people from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine coast (in time to attend multiple games) but Queensland doesn’t have this capacity.

Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner acknowledges that ongoing road upgrades are needed, starting from now. 

“In the end, the first reason that we went for the Olympics was to get better infrastructure and better transport infrastructure in particular,” he told the ABC.

Thankfully it appears that many infrastructure projects that Queenslanders have been waiting for could be fast-tracked in time for the Games (or even given approval in the first place).

And to make this reality, around 122, 900 jobs are expected to be created nationwide – which is good news for people seeking employment in the construction sector.


09/08/2021 blog, Blog classic Todd Mason