While it’s exciting news that SEQ is the lead candidate for the 2032 Olympics (check out the Brisbane Times report), the reality is that the Olympics probably won’t be an economic boon and it will end up costing Queensland taxpayers and SEQ ratepayers. You can argue it’s a good thing to host the Olympics, for community spirit and to encourage participation in sport, but it’s hard to make an economic argument for it, given most host cities lose a lot of money – Montreal in 1976 being the classic example – unless the host city re-uses a lot of old facilities (e.g. LA in 1984) or it really does signal a re-opening of the city to the world and stimulates a tourism boom (e.g. Barcelona in 1992).
We need to deliver an SEQ Olympics cost-effectively, which is why it is concerning the Brisbane Lord Mayor sees this as an opportunity to spend big on infrastructure (see Brisbane lord mayor calls for decade-long Olympics boom). Sure, some infrastructure spending may be needed, but let’s make sure the cost-benefit analysis studies are done and the projects stack up over the long-term.
I made some comments to CPA Australia’s In the Black magazine about the Olympics bid earlier this month and hopefully the magazine will be available soon. Previously I commented on the SEQ Olympics bid on QEW in 2016 when it was first announced: