Brisbane 2032: Qld minister says PM would be ‘embarrassed’ at shock Olympics funding claim

Heath Parkes-HuptonNCA NewsWire
A Queensland minister says the PM should be embarrassed at one of his colleague’s comments about pulling out of funding the Birisbane Olympics.
Camera IconA Queensland minister says the PM should be embarrassed at one of his colleague’s comments about pulling out of funding the Birisbane Olympics. Credit: Supplied

An ugly slanging match has erupted between the state and federal governments over the Brisbane Olympics.

The tiff was triggered by the potential makeup of an organising committee for the 2032 Games.

Ted O’Brien, who has been appointed as a Commonwealth special envoy to coordinate the preparations, claimed the Queensland government was trying to stack the deck.

He sensationally threatened to pull out of a joint funding arrangement for the $5 billion major event.

Queensland government minister Yvette D’Ath described the threat as “embarrassing”.

Ms D’Ath expressed her disappointment at Mr O’Brien’s remarks but said she was pleased he had already stepped back from them.

“Scott Morrison’s probably feeling very embarrassed this morning about one of his government members came out attacking a draft bill,” she said.

The Courier Mail reported Mr O’Brien’s comments in Saturday’s paper, which arose from a stoush over the makeup of the 22-person organising committee.

It was reported Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk could choose up to nine directors for the board, while the Commonwealth would only get four picks.

Mr O’Brien said that would give the state an “extraordinary amount of power” and the selections should be split evenly.

“If the Premier wishes to impose her will in breach of the federal and state agreement I will be left with no choice but to recommend to the Prime Minister that we withdraw from the 50-50 partnership – everything will go,” he said.

“If the organising committee can be effectively driven by one person Queenslanders would be the ultimate losers.”

In a statement, Ms Palaszczuk said Mr O’Brien’s comments were “incorrect” and the draft bill would be reviewed by all stakeholders.

Ms D’Ath said Mr O’Brien had since reneged and conceded those matters would be better addressed by federal Sports Minister Richard Colbeck.

The proposed Gabba redevelopment for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games.
Camera IconThe proposed Gabba redevelopment for the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games. Credit: Supplied

“This was unnecessary commentary around the Olympics, the legislation that‘s been drafted is out for consultation we worked very closely with the federal government and the Brisbane City Council in drafting that legislation,” she said.

The governments are set to split the costs of major infrastructure projects needed to bring Brisbane’s facilities up to scratch for Australia’s third Olympics.

Originally published as Brisbane 2032: Qld minister says PM would be ‘embarrassed’ at shock Olympics funding claim

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