Australia’s new prime minister pulled out of a federal pledge to split the cost of 2032 Olympic and Paralympic spending with Queensland last week in the latest example of how sports and politics are inextricably intertwined.
Former Liberal leader Scott Morrison told the Queensland state government it would support a 50-50 funding deal for the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics taking place in the state capital of Brisbane, but Anthony Albanese appears to be walking back that promise after winning the election in May.
“My government isn’t like our predecessors who decided things without any detail,” said Albanese, a member of the Labor Party.
At a hearing of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee on Friday, Department of Infrastructure secretary Jim Betts offered more explanation of the federal government’s current stance.
“I think the position of the government reflects a view that we are now at a stage where we would like to begin discussions with the Queensland government about the extent of the investment required to support sporting infrastructure and transport infrastructure and potentially other infrastructure as well, which may be managed by other parts of government,” Betts said. “Rather than writing a blank cheque for 50% of whatever the outcome is, we would like to have a discussion about what the infrastructure should be and what a worthwhile Commonwealth contribution should be. Those are the discussions which are just beginning to kick off now.”
“I think a fair way of describing this is the former government made a fairly public statement about a 50-50 funding arrangement for the games, but it was subject to a whole range of terms and conditions that would need to be negotiated with the Queensland government, which is why it’s presented as a risk in the budget papers rather than a condition or a financing arrangement,” Department of Infrastructure deputy secretary David Hallinan added.
Inflation rates spiked 7.3% last quarter to their highest points since 1990, creating budget issues for Albanese during his first year in office. The federal government has paused infrastructure projects in Queensland, including a redevelopment of the Brisbane cricket ground known as “The Gabba.” The Gabba is expected to be one of the venues hosting Olympic events less than eight years from now.