Ahead of Australia hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games and the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Federal Labor Government must urgently establish an independent joint infrastructure oversight body to ensure Australia’s sporting infrastructure is not under threat.
A Joint Authority, as demanded by the Coalition Government as part of the 50/50 funding deal for the Brisbane Olympic Games, would ensure appropriate oversight by reviewing all major sporting infrastructure spending.
It is critical to ensure the Government does not capitulate to Premier Palaszczuk on federal funding ahead of the Games and to protect our international sporting reputation.
Shadow Minister for Sport, Anne Ruston said, “Australia is well placed to showcase the talent of the world’s most elite athletes at the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. However, to ensure value for money, full transparency and on-time delivery of projects, an Authority is essential.
“So far, the Queensland Government has made it clear that they don’t want this Authority or the scrutiny it brings.
“Instead, they want to build the sporting infrastructure through their normal union channels, which should send a horrifying message to all taxpayers that there is a possibility Premier Palaszczuk’s political and union mates could continue to line their pockets.”
Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Bridget McKenzie said, “Australia has a strong track record of delivering world class events and infrastructure, and hosting the Olympics and Paralympics will be an amazing celebration of elite sporting talent.
“The best outcome for Australian and Queensland taxpayers is for an Authority to be established to oversee any future major infrastructure spends. With no assurance and no details yet on how much of the overall tab the Federal Government will pick up – it could be 50% or even more – it is concerning that recent reporting states the Gabba redevelopment has been given a price tag of up to $2.5 billion.
“An Authority, such as that proposed by the Coalition Government, would ensure the proper assessment of projects and value for taxpayer money.”
Given the importance of this Authority, it is seriously concerning that the Finance Minister refused to confirm whether the Government will maintain the Coalition’s commitment to establishing the independent infrastructure body during Budget Estimates.
The Albanese Labor Government must urgently dispel the growing concerns that it will hand over a ‘blank cheque’ to the Queensland State Government.
It would be totally irresponsible for the Federal Government to blindly hand over billions of dollars of Australian taxpayers money to a Queensland Government that has been plagued by scandals and political conflicts of interest.
Along with the Olympic Games, the 2026 regional Commonwealth Games provides an exciting opportunity to showcase regional Victoria to the world, but major infrastructure investments will also be required to ensure that athletes and spectators are able to travel to and enjoy the sporting spectacle.
Any infrastructure spend proposed by Premier Andrews involving Commonwealth taxpayer funding must be carefully scrutinised, which is why it is so important that the Government provides clarity on whether a Joint Authority will be established to protect major sporting infrastructure spends going forward.