Australian Sports Minister Anika Wells has vowed to deliver purpose-built infrastructure to ensure a “world-leading” environment in time for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics in Brisbane.
Wells made the pledge during the opening day of the Step Up Oceania Conference in the Australian city which is set to hold the Oceania National Olympic Committee (ONOC) Annual General Assembly on Friday (21 April).
Preparations for Brisbane 2032 have so far been dominated by rows over funding for the Games and controversial plans to demolish and rebuild The Gabba.
The Australian Government has vowed to invest AUD$3.4 billion (£1.8 billion/US$2.3 billion/€2.1 billion) towards the Games as part of a combined AUD$7 billion (£4 billion/US$4.8 billion/€4.5 billion) funding package that was agreed with the Queensland Government in February.
The main project covered under the Federal Government’s contribution is a new AUD$2.5 billion (£1.4 billion/US$1.7 billion/€1.6 billion) Brisbane Live Arena, which is set to hold 18,000 spectators and swimming and water polo events at Brisbane 2032.
This is set to be situated close to the under-construction Roma Street Cross River Rail station.
There are also plans for the Federal Government to jointly fund upgrades to nine existing venues across Queensland and five new venues.
The redevelopment of The Gabba, which is due to stage the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, is expected to be entirely funded by the Queensland Government.
Speaking at the Step Up Oceania Conference, Wells underlined the Federal Government’s ambitions to create top-class infrastructure that can be used by people from across Oceania.
“I am determined to ensure the green and gold decade, culminating in Brisbane 2032, benefits our region rather than just our nation,” said Wells.
“We must do more than take the opportunities and seize the moments.
“We must generate the opportunities.
“We must create the moments.
“And ensure they ripple outwards to the Oceania region.
“Brisbane 2032 will extend the legacies of the Games beyond Brisbane, beyond Queensland, and beyond Australia’s border to the Pacific and Oceania region.
“So far, the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been understandably dominated by talk of governance and stadiums.
“The Australian Government has committed AUD$3.4 billion dollars in infrastructure spend to ensure our built environment is world-leading.
“However, as Minister for Sport, it is my duty to ensure there is purpose-built infrastructure for people and I mean all people, not just Australians.”
The two-day Step Up Oceania Conference is set to bring together more than 250 delegates from across the continent to explore key issues, good practices and the latest innovations in a bid to transform Oceania’s athletic performances before Brisbane 2032.
Among those present on the opening day included ONOC President Robin Mitchell as well as the leaders of the Oceania Paralympic Committee, Australian Olympic Committee and Paralympics Australia.
“This Government understands the importance of working in genuine partnership with Pacific countries,” added Wells.
“That’s why we have made it a priority to show up, show respect and engage transparently.
“The Prime Minister’s visits to Papua New Guinea and Fiji reinforced our strong bonds.
“While Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong has made 15 visits to Pacific Island countries since the May election.
“Our Pacific Minister Pat Conroy has made 11 visits to Pacific island countries since taking on the job.
“I am taking that same drive and enthusiasm to being a Federal Sport Minister.
“Our mission for Brisbane 2032 is to foster greater participation in sport so more people reap the preventive health, social inclusion, and connectivity benefits it provides,” she said.
SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES/PACNEWS