An independent review into the Brisbane Olympics venue plans has begun, with a verdict on a number of decisions to be handed down in March – including what to do with the Gabba.
Officially commencing this week, the review will assess the purpose and value for money of future infrastructure projects, as well as their legacy once the games are complete.
Queensland Premier Steven Miles hopes that the review will see better value projects put back on the table, but hasn’t ruled out a $2.7 billion knock-down rebuild of the Gabba, the city’s future Olympic stadium, which has been earmarked by the venues masterplan. A potential $2.5 billion Brisbane Arena is also under review.
The plan to knock down the existing structure has been rejected by the state opposition and crossbench, plus Brisbane City Council, claiming that it will have a major impact on the Brisbane Lions and QLD Cricket teams, and will result in the demolition of the East Brisbane State School.
Miles says these claims are what has led to the review, after he ironically sanctioned the original masterplan when he was Infrastructure Minister.
“I’m happy to acknowledge and willing to acknowledge that we underestimated the impact of this on those codes and on those teams,” he says.
“And that’s one of the things that has led me to make this decision, to review the plan. I think it’s a good thing that a leader is willing to say, maybe we got that wrong.”
Former Brisbane Mayor Graham Quirk will lead the review, alongside former NSW public service bureaucrat Ken Kanofski and Michelle Morris of Mi Global Partners, a management consultancy firm.
“We’ll be looking not only at existing venues and proposals, but if the panel believes that there may be other sites which are currently not on the list of intended sites, then we will certainly be recommending that they be looked at,” Quirk says.
“The Premier has said earlier that a fresh set of eyes need to be cast over the arrangement, and so that’s what I will do. I will do that to the best of my ability.”
The review is due by 18 March.