May 30, 2023

Brisbane Olympics: Greens, One Nation and Katter parties unite in push to cap spending on 2032 Games | Queensland politics

They don’t usually agree on much, but Queensland’s crossbenchers this week put their political differences aside to voice their shared concerns about spending on the 2032 Olympic Games.

“I’m about as excited about this as getting a vasectomy, standing here with the Greens, with our natural enemy,” the Katter’s Australian party MP Nick Dametto told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’ve come together on one topic, which regional Queensland and even Brisbane and Southeast quarter residents will agree [with] – the negative impact of the Olympics is going to affect us all.”

The crossbench – including members of One Nation, Katter’s Australian party, the Greens and independent MP Sandy Bolton – are calling on the state and federal governments to cap expenditure for the Games at $7bn.

They are also urging the state government to scrap the $2.7bn rebuild of the Gabba stadium, publish an Olympics housing plan and invest an equivalent amount in infrastructure projects in regions that won’t receive any Olympics-related spending.

Asked how she felt making a joint announcement with One Nation, the Greens MP Amy MacMahon said the crossbench was “united” on this issue despite their vast “political differences”.

“We’re set to lose a state primary school … all for a two-week event that the majority of people in our electorates won’t be able to afford to go to,” she said, referring to the East Brisbane state school.

“The evidence from Games right around the world is that prices go up, rates go up and people get actively displaced from their neighbourhoods … we’re seeing gentrification fuelled by the Olympic Games.”

The Greens MP for South Brisbane, Amy MacMahon.
The Greens MP for South Brisbane, Amy MacMahon. Photograph: Darren England/AAP

Bolton said some of her constituents in the Sunshine Coast were also facing housing difficulties and she feared the Games would exacerbate the crisis.

“What we really need is a strategy and a plan on how this is going to be mitigated,” she said.

Robbie Katter, the leader of the KAP, said Queensland needs to have a “sobering” look at the Games and the “enormous vortex” it’ll create for future infrastructure projects.

“Everyone’s getting excited about it but we’re tasked with holding the government to account,” Katter said.

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“That makes you a bit unpopular because everyone likes the idea of having a party and having a new stadium, but there is a cost.”

Katter said his party was “sick of asking” for renal units and CT scanners, and “being told there’s no money for it when they can find money for brand-new stadiums”.

“We didn’t compete for the Olympic Games, no one else in the world wanted it – it fell in our lap,” he said.

A government spokesperson said “there are no gold medals for booing” and that government funding for the regions “eclipses Olympic spending by a considerable margin”.

They said the Queensland government’s share of funding on Olympic infrastructure is $3.7bn over the next decade, with the federal government providing $3.4bn.

“Nothing is being built just for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The idea has always been to accelerate projects in time for 2032 that will have lasting benefits for the community long after.”