The Gabba Is No Longer Being Torn Down and Rebuilt for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games

Brisbane isn't getting a new stadium at Victoria Park, either — instead, Suncorp Stadium and the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre will receive upgrades.
Sarah Ward
Published on March 18, 2024

The 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games won't be taking place at a brand-new version of Woolloongabba's Brisbane Cricket Ground. They won't be happening in a new stadium at Victoria Park, either. Instead, the Queensland Government has announced that it's scrapping plans to completely demolish and rebuild the Gabba — and has also rejected the recommendation to add a stadium to Herston — in favour of upgrading Suncorp Stadium and the Queensland Sports and Athletics Centre.

It's almost been three years since Brisbane was announced as the host of the 2032 games, with tearing down the Gabba and building a new stadium at the same spot at the centre of the plans. But the proposal was costly, to the tune of $2.7 billion; would've required AFL and cricket teams to relocate elsewhere for years, such as a suggested temporary stadium at the RNA Showgrounds; and would've also seen East Brisbane State School next door move elsewhere permanently. As a result, the arrangements have been reviewed and revised.

The Gabba, Your Next Kid via Wikipedia Commons

The Queensland Government announced the findings of the Independent Review of Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Venue Infrastructure on Monday, March 18, 2024 — and also which recommendations they're accepting, and which ones they aren't. The big one, of course, is ditching the Gabba plans. It's one of 27 recommendations that will be enacted. A new stadium at Victoria Park is among the three that've been rejected.

Undertaken by a panel led by Brisbane's former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, the review said that maintaining the Gabba to standard is the best approach until it can be fully demolished when a different new stadium is built somewhere else. The Queensland Government is just going with the first half of that recommendation, undertaking vital maintenance work to the home of the Brisbane Lions and Queensland Cricket.

The reason for nixing the Victoria Park idea, aka the second half of the suggestion for the Gabba, is that it isn't expected that a new stadium could be built within the agreed funding. Also, the International Olympic Committee now prefers that host cities don't construct new facilities, but use already-existing sites or venues that were planned anyway regardless of the Olympics and Paralympics. Also noted: that a stadium at the site would take away its green space, and impact long-held plans to transform the patch of Herston into a 64-hectare parkland with a tree house lookout, water play gully, high-ropes course, mountain bike track, reinstated water holes and wetlands, and more.

Enter those upgrades for Suncorp Stadium and QSAC, even though the review committee recommended against using the latter.

The Queensland Government has also accepted the recommendation to change Brisbane Arena, the new entertainment venue earmarked for Roma Street. It will still go ahead, but will move to a different part of Roma Street Parklands.

Victoria Park

"My government will accept 90 percent of the recommendations made," said Queensland Premier Steven Miles. "One of their recommendations would have meant the demise of the Gabba, which is something we couldn't accept for such a beloved venue."

"And while the concept of a new stadium at Victoria Park has merit, the uncertainty around final cost means it is unfortunately not an option."

The Department for Culture Media and Sport, Wikimedia Commons.

For more information on the Independent Review of Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Venue Infrastructure, head to the Queensland Government website.

Top image: Zvi Leve via Wikimedia Commons.

Published on March 18, 2024 by Sarah Ward
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