‘Dysfunctional Farce’: Brisbane Lord Mayor Resigns From 2032 Olympics Forum

Fireworks have erupted over plans to redevelop a major stadium for the opening ceremony.
‘Dysfunctional Farce’: Brisbane Lord Mayor Resigns From 2032 Olympics Forum
A general view is seen of fireworks after Brisbane was announced as the host city of the 2032 Olympics at the Brisbane Olympic Live Site in Brisbane, Australia, on July 21, 2021. (Albert Perez/Getty Images)
Monica O’Shea

The Lord Mayor of major Australian city Brisbane has resigned from a key infrastructure delivery forum ahead of the 2032 Olympic Games.

Adrian Schrinner is stepping down from the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Intergovernmental Leaders Forum.

The Liberal National Lord Mayor is also concerned about the Labor government’s plans to demolish and rebuild a major stadium for the Olympics opening ceremony and athletics, the Gabba.

The Olympics are due to be held from July 23 to Aug. 28, 2032, in Brisbane, 3,155 days from now. The 2024 games will be held in Paris, while Los Angeles will host the 2028 summer Olympics.

Mr. Schrinner believes the Olympics should be overseen by an independent games coordination authority, which he says was promised to the international Olympic committee and Queenslanders.

“This week it became very apparent that the Intergovernmental Leaders’ Forum is a dysfunctional farce, a pointless talkfest established to placate key stakeholders while all the real decisions are made by the state government behind closed doors,” he said.

Concerns With $2.7 Billion Gabba Redevelopment

Mr. Schrinner said he will no longer “fall into line” and support the state government’s current $2.7 billion (US$1.8 billion) Gabba plan, stating it had “become clear” that there must be better options than demolishing and rebuilding the Gabba.

“I have no doubt there are good alternatives to the full demolition and rebuilding of the Gabba, but the State Government has never genuinely looked for them with an open mind,” he said.

“If they won’t do it, let’s appoint an independent body that will. We could even look at alternatives for the opening and closing ceremonies, such as events along the Brisbane River that are open to all.”

In response, Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe told Nine News, “it’s a bit bewildering but I am starting to expect backflips from the Lord Mayor.”

Energy Minister Mick De Brenni said, “I think ratepayers will be seriously considering whether they'll be returning him to office, if he’s not going to be at the table doing his job, why be the Lord Mayor.”

The state government left the door open for Mr. Schrinner to return to the committee anytime.

The Lord Mayor travelled with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in 2021 to bid for the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

“Ever since the premier and I travelled to Tokyo together to secure the 2032 Games, I have been a committed team player, despite numerous setbacks and political differences,” Mr. Schrinner said.

“I have done this because I strongly believed that only by working together can we stage the best-ever Games and deliver a legacy that benefits all residents.

“However, it’s clear that the Games have become more about over-priced stadiums rather than the promise of vital transport solutions.”

Queensland is set to face two elections next year, with local government elections on March 16 and a state election on Oct. 26.

Main Arena Upgrade During Gabba Rebuild

On Friday, Minister Hinchliffe announced a $137 million (US$91 million) upgrade for the RNA Showground Main Arena to host cricket, the Brisbane Lions, and major events during the Gabba redevelopment.

“An extensive South East Queensland-wide review has identified the RNA Showgrounds’ Main Arena as the best possible temporary venue during The Gabba rebuild,” Mr. Hinchliffe announced.

“The RNA Showgrounds Main Arena will be upgraded to deliver a cost-effective, 20,000-seat alternative home for the Brisbane Lions, cricket and major events.”

However, out of this funding, the Palaszczuk government has only committed $45.7 million, asking for the Brisbane City Council for more support.

A supplied image obtained on Nov. 24, 2023, shows an artist's depiction of the new-look layout for the Gabba precinct which will be rebuilt ahead of the 2032 Olympics. (AAP Image/Supplied by Queensland Government)
A supplied image obtained on Nov. 24, 2023, shows an artist's depiction of the new-look layout for the Gabba precinct which will be rebuilt ahead of the 2032 Olympics. (AAP Image/Supplied by Queensland Government)

“Brisbane City Council, the RNA, and The Gabba’s primary tenants have been asked to share the remaining $91 million cost for the Main Arena upgrade to proceed,” Mr. Hinchcliffe said.

In response, Mr. Schrinner said, “Friday’s farcical demands over the RNA stadium aptly demonstrated that the state is not interested in team work and that the Gabba rebuild should be independently re-evaluated.”

However, Mr. Hinchliffe claimed Mr. Schrinner had been “out there calling for the RNA as the solution,” in quotes cited by the ABC.

“It’s so surprising that Lord Mayor wants to step away from the one way in which he can have his and the city’s voice heard,” Mr. Hinchliffe said.

“While the city is contributing zero dollars to delivering the games, it seems that it is important that we do engage the city in solving the root problems that they can be part of solving.”