Thursday, November 30, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life


Great Barrier Reef Arena Vies For Place in 2032 Olympics

The Great Barrier Reef Arena’s viability as an Olympic Games 2032 venue and training ground is being pushed to the forefront of Brisbane-based decision-makers thanks to the Olympic Games Senate Enquiry Committee which is currently touring regional Queensland.

Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox MP, met with the committee at the Great Barrier Reef Arena last week and spruiked the merits of regional facilities saying that they could become ‘legacy items’ with the right investment.

Creating An Olympic Legacy

Senator Matt Canavan, Senator Bridget McKenzie, Senator Penny Allman-Payne and Senator Malcolm Roberts took a tour of the Great Barrier Reef Arena with Federal Member for Dawson, Andrew Willcox and Harrup Park General Manager Adrian Young last week.

The group explored the facilities and Mr Willcox was eager for them to take “a stock take on what regional Queensland has to offer” so information could be passed onto decision-makers and funds used to improve local facilities.

“We’ve got facilities like this, that are world-class, we’ve got the capabilities to hold events and we have already held international events here,” he said.

“The premier said these Olympics are for everybody in Queensland, but I haven’t seen a lot of evidence of that so far.”

Mr Willcox added that the government is spending $2.7 billion on renovating the Gabba and other facilities around Brisbane.

He said he would like to see some AFL matches and cricket games come to the Great Barrier Reef Arena while those venues are closed during the works.

He also said that he believes money is better invested in the regions as the facilities will be more meaningful to the smaller communities and become ‘legacy items’ for future generations.

“My argument is – let’s develop areas like this, the Great Barrier Reef Arena – put another grandstand here, some more facilities and they will become legacy items,” he explained.

“They will last a long time and will be used each and every day, they won’t just be mothballed after the Olympics.”

Senator Matt Canavan added that resources from the Mackay region’s key industries of mining and agriculture are being used to fund the Olympics so it is only fair that the region benefits.

“It is costing $7 billion in Olympic infrastructure in Brisbane and much of this is coming from regional Queensland,” he said.

“This is the Brisbane Olympics, but it is really being funded by regional Queensland.

“If we are going to fund the infrastructure in Brisbane, we need to make sure there is a return back to regional Queensland people too.”

It is hoped that the Great Barrier Reef Arena will host several events and the Whitsundays will host some of the sailing competitions.

Mr Willcox also hopes to see some of the training sessions take place locally and pitched venues such as the Magpies Sporting Complex for teams to have the opportunity to acclimatise and prepare for the Games.

“We’ve got a lot of submissions coming in and we are providing the Senators with good information – what current infrastructure we have, the capabilities and what infrastructure we need to hold world-class events,” said Mr Willcox.

“It’s great to have all political persuasions here to visit the facilities and we appreciate them going into bat for us.”

Over 150 countries are expected to be coming to the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games and the whole of Queensland is set to benefit from the opportunity.

L-R: Senator Malcolm Roberts, Senator Bridget McKenzie, Member for Dawson Andrew Willcox, Senator Matt Canavan, Senator Penny Allman-Payne and Harrup Park General Manager Adrian Young are pushing for the Great Barrier Reef Arena to become a 2032 Olympic Games venue. Photo supplied

Harrup Park General Manager Adrian Young (far right) took members of the Olympic Games Senate Enquiry Committee on a tour of Mackay’s Great Barrier Reef Arena last week

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