Pauline Hanson has slammed the Queensland government’s bid to host the 2032 Olympics, branding it a giant “waste of money.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced last month that Queensland will launch a bid to bring the Summer Olympics to Australia for the third time if it can get financial support from central and local government.
The bid would be centred on capital city Brisbane, as well as the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast beach resort areas, and take place from July 23 to August 8 in 2032.
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However the proposal hasn’t gone down well with Hanson, who sees it as a complete waste of money that should be going elsewhere during Australia’s time of need.
“It is estimated to cost about $8.9 billion to hold the Olympics. This has always blown out. Can we afford it? No, we can’t,” The One Nation leader said on The Today Show on Friday.
“We can’t afford it because we can’t even afford water for Queensland.
“I have got townships, Stanthorpe, no water. You can’t tell me that we can afford to put on the Olympics.”
Karl Stefanovic asked Hanson whether the cost could be outweighed by the economic benefits associated with hosting an Olympic Games.
“This is an opportunity, while it may cost a lot, this is an opportunity to bring millions and potentially billions of dollars from outside Australia into our economy,” Stefanovic said.
But Hanson wasn’t having it, pointing to the 2018 Commonwealth Games as an example.
“It didn’t work. Look at the Commonwealth Games that we had in Queensland. They were flat out selling tickets to it and they were trying to give tickets away,” Ms Hanson said.
“As far as I am concerned we don’t need it here in Queensland. I have spoken to people in rural and regional areas of Queensland. They don’t want it, they won’t get the benefits out of it. They are sick and tired of seeing everything going to South East Queensland.
“It is not fair on the state, it’s not fair on the people in rural and regional areas. I just think it’s not right.”
Senator Hanson later revealed a statewide advertising campaign covering at least 50 billboards with the message: "2032 Brisbane Olympics, regional Queensland says NO".
"The feedback I'm getting from everyday Queenslanders is that they're not interested in hosting the Olympics, and instead would prefer the money be spent on drought-proofing the state," she said.
"Stuff spending tens of billions on stadiums and entertainment centres across Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.
“The people want water projects like a hybrid version of the Bradfield Scheme so that towns right across Queensland don't run dry ever again."
Third time lucky for Australia?
Australia hosted the Olympics in 1956 in Melbourne and again in Sydney in 2000 but Brisbane's bid to bring the Games to Queensland in 1992 lost out to Barcelona.
"This is about so much more than a few weeks of sport," Palaszczuk said last month.
"Hosting the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics could be a game-changer and deliver 20 years of accelerated opportunity for our state.
"That's why cabinet has today made the decision to continue working toward securing a Games – and we will continue to work closely with our partners to ensure we receive the financial support we require from all levels of government.
"There's more work to do to ensure we are in a position to put a compelling case to the International Olympic Committee."
The state has twice hosted the Commonwealth Games - in Brisbane in 1982 and the Gold Coast last year - and Palaszczuk estimated that up to 80% of the venues required to stage the Olympics were already in place or would be temporary.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is on record as saying his government would back the bid "all the way" and Palaszczuk said the Olympics could create 130,000 jobs and boost "tourism spending" by $20 million.
"The world's greatest event provides a platform like no other. It's an opportunity to showcase Queensland to the rest of the world," she added.
"Hosting around 11,000 athletes from 206 countries, and an estimated television audience of 3.2 billion people would see the world watching Queensland at its best."
There are indications that rival bids for 2032 may come from Indonesia, India, Spain, Germany, Italy, Britain and Russia, while North and South Korea are investigating a joint proposal to bring the Olympics back to the peninsula.
Tokyo will host the Summer Olympics for the second time next year with Paris locked in for 2024 and a return to Los Angeles for the third time in 2028 already confirmed.