The Queensland and federal governments have reached a $7 billion funding agreement for an overhaul of Brisbane’s sporting and event venues ahead of the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including rebuilding the Gabba.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the details of the plan alongside Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Brisbane today.

The plan includes the Gabba rebuild, a new “Brisbane Live” entertainment arena at Roma Street that will seat up to 18,000, upgrades to existing venues and the construction of some smaller facilities.

Under the deal the Commonwealth will contribute around $3.5 billion, including $2.5 billion for the Brisbane arena, and a further $1 billion for the new venues and facility upgrades.

Artist's impression of proposed Brisbane Arena venue at Roma Street in the CBD for the 2032 Summer Olympics
The federal government will fund the construction of the Brisbane Live arena.(Supplied: Queensland Government)

Mr Albanese said it would have “enormous” economic benefit and transform the state.

“When there was a change of government, it was very clear that there hadn’t been any money actually allocated in the budget for federal infrastructure support for the Games,” he said.

“It’s quite clear we needed to step up and do our part.

“This will consolidate this great city as a global city, as a global powerhouse but it benefits not just Brisbane … it will benefit the whole state of Queensland.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sign Brisbane Olympics funding deal
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the Olympics funding deal today.(ABC News: Chris Gillette)

Ms Palaszczuk said the funding deal was a “tremendous outcome” that would set Queensland up for the future, with extra facilities to be used for “decades to come”.

“This will cement Queensland’s place internationally but also too, it is a lasting legacy for our athletes, our young people.”

State government going it alone for Gabba rebuild

A back view of a modern flood light at a sports stadium on a dark night.
The redevelopment of the Gabba stadium is one step closer to reality.(ABC News: Christopher Gillette)

The Gabba rebuild, which was initially proposed to cost about $1 billion in 2021, is now estimated to cost about $2.7 billion, and be paid for by the state government.

Ms Palaszczuk said it was “logical” for the state government to go it alone on the Gabba.

“Why we are focused on the Gabba is because we will be declaring a PDA [priority development area] over the whole Gabba site leading into South Bank, this is absolutely critical for urban renewal.”

The Gabba redevelopment north-eastern view ahead of the 2023 Brisbane Olympic Games, stadium in background fans in foreground
The state government will fund the $2.7 billion redevelopment of the Gabba stadium.(Supplied: Queensland government)

She also defended the project’s cost blow-out.

“Prices have gone up for commodities and everything, and … we’re going to be doing the demolition,” she said.

“This is not unusual; this is happening with projects all around the world.”

Mr Albanese said he fully supports the Gabba redevelopment.

“We want to be responsible for the Brisbane Arena project, we wanted to have something that was the legacy left by the Commonwealth government,” he said. 

“The Gabba redevelopment is … about more than just the stadium, it’s about the way the city functions.

“It’s all about urban redevelopment as well and making the city function and making it more liveable, the way that it works with the Cross River Rail project.”

Interior of Brisbane Live arena with swimming pool inside. It will be used for Brisbane Olympic Games 2032 events
The Brisbane Live arena is expected to host swimming events in 2032.(Supplied: Queensland government)

Local MP ‘furious’ over Olympics spending plans

East Brisbane State School would get a “brand new school” in 2026, less than 2 kilometres from its current campus, Ms Palaszczuk said. 

The heritage school, which is tucked under the shadow of the Gabba stadium, will have to be relocated to make way for the stadium expansion.

An old school right beside the Gabba
It has been confirmed the East Brisbane State School, located within the stadium precinct, will be relocated.(ABC News: Emma Pollard)

The Gabba stadium redevelopment is part of a major urban renewal for the Woolloongabba precinct in Brisbane’s inner south.

The state government said the plans are for an active travel corridor to South Bank and the CBD through the area as well as more housing including social and affordable housing.

But not everyone is on board with the plans.

Federal member for Griffith, which covers inner-city Brisbane suburbs including Woolloongabba, Max Chandler-Mather told ABC Radio Brisbane it was a “disgraceful” misuse of government funds.

“They [the federal government] claim the budget is tight but now, they’ve just announced they’re going to chip in billions on stadiums for a four-week sporting event,” Mr Chandler-Mather said.

“The scale of the housing crisis right now is so acute and now … they’re going to spend more public money on Olympic stadiums than they’re going to spend on social and affordable housing.

“Frankly, I’m furious.”

‘We’ve got a hard deadline’

The outside of the Gabba stadium with crowds walking to and from.
An artist’s impression of the new Gabba, from the outside, for the 2032 Olympic Games.(Supplied: Queensland Government)

Federal Sports Minister Anika Wells told ABC Radio Brisbane this morning it was too soon to lock in a time frame on when construction will be completed.

“They’re still in the planning, architecture phase … it’s no secret, we’ve got a hard deadline,” she said.

“We’ve committed to working together to make sure that we do get all of this done.”

The Queensland government and the former Coalition government had a shared funding agreement for the redevelopment, but after the Labor government was elected in 2022, it was not clear whether the agreement would remain in place.

The president of the 2032 Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games Andrew Liveris cast doubt over the plan late last year, implying it might prove too costly.

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