Katter’s Australian Party Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has expressed disappointment on behalf of regional Queenslanders following the Premier’s dismissive response towards a petition calling for an Olympics infrastructure off-set fund.
Mr Dametto said the Palaszczuk Labor Government continued to let down regional Queenslanders as it forged ahead with preparations for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games.
The petition, launched by Founder of Our Fair Share Colin Dwyer and sponsored by Nick Dametto MP, urged the Parliament to create a nation-building fund to offset negative impacts on regional Queensland of the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.
The e-petition closed on September 3 with 1,514 signatures.
Mr Dametto said the Premier’s letter addressing the petition was at best a “generic response” and yet another example of regional Queensland being treated as South East Queensland’s poor cousin.
The Premier stated in her response, that “attracting the Games to Queensland will provide the certainty and confidence needed to trigger increased investment across the state and provide a 10-year pipeline of jobs, trade and investment opportunities, and legacy projects that will benefit all Queenslanders right across the state and for decades to come.”
Mr Dametto said the petition was calling for funding to offset the negative impacts of delayed infrastructure projects, worker shortages and economic loss on regional Queensland which the Premier failed to address in her response.
“Townsville economist, Colin Dwyer recommended a sensible approach to ensure regional Queensland benefits from the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and the Premier has ignored the proposal in her response,” he said.
According to the International Olympic Committee back in April, the budget included $690 million for infrastructure and an $810 million contingency totalling $4.9 billion.
“Originally, the Olympic Committee hoped bidders would optimise existing infrastructure however Federal Sport Minister Richard Colbeck has already suggested that the budget was ‘out of date’ given the required infrastructure for transport and the Games,” Mr Dametto said.
“Despite the wide-spread reporting that the event would only cost around $5 billion it is likely there would be an up to $12 billion spent on “critical” infrastructure.
“The Federal Government has already committed up to $6 billion to pre-Games infrastructure as part of 50:50 co-contribution funding pool with the Queensland Government.
“What will the rest of the State look like in 10 years’ time, when the South East is booming with 32 new venues and a rebuilt of The Gabba costing $1 billion?
“North Queensland’s infrastructure projects will continue to go unnoticed, and we will have a lack of skilled workers because they’ll all be rebuilding The Gabba.
“An overpass at North Shore, dredging Cardwell’s One Mile Creek, Lucinda’s Enterprise Channel and Forrest Beach boat ramp are all examples of projects that require funding for the region to prosper not tourists attending a couple of minor Olympic Games in 2032.”
The report completed by Regional Economist Colin Dwyer says the Brisbane 2032 Olympics are highly unlikely to generate significant infrastructure and jobs or any legacy projects outside the South East.
Mr Dwyer said when considering the cost of the crowding out effect, it is estimated any benefit will be more than offset by a reduction in regional public and private projects due to reprioritisation of funding and projects.
“It’s estimated that as skilled workers move from regions to Brisbane, the shift in population is likely to have a stalling effect on regional asset prices,” Mr Dwyer said.
“We identified an extremely low share of economic benefit for regions from the Brisbane Olympics.
“It almost takes you back to the old days when things may have got done but there was questionable transparency, ‘don’t you worry about that’ regional Queensland”.
Mr Dametto thanks those who took the time to sign the petition and will continue to advocate for regional Queensland’s fair share of benefits from the Brisbane 2032 Olympics.