‘Australia is worth celebrating’: Bob Carr rallies behind Queensland Olympic bid
EXCLUSIVE: Former NSW Premier and architect of the Sydney 2000 Olympics Bob Carr has called on the Australian public to embrace the prospect of a Queensland Games in 2032.
Mr Carr, whose government delivered the Sydney Olympics, has urged governments and business to “rise to the challenge” of luring the world’s showpiece sporting event down under.
“We can (pull it off). Our efficiency compares well with any other country I can think of when it comes to throwing up the sporting infrastructure and handling large crowds,” Mr Carr told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.
“A south-east Queensland-based bid would have no major barriers. Up against the competition, we would do pretty well,” he said.
Mr Carr says an Olympics in Queensland would be a Games for all Australia.
“I had the sense during the Opening Ceremony in Sydney… it was a celebration of the people we were, and that’s what we want to see again,” he said.
Queensland’s desire to host the Games comes at a time when global demand has fallen away.
When awarded hosting rights in 1993, the Sydney bid had to compete with four other bidders in the final round of voting.
Compare that to recent times, when the International Olympic Committee was forced to award the 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (Los Angeles) Olympics at the same time after all other contenders pulled out.
Bob Carr argues against measuring the success of an Olympic Games purely based on the bottom line. He warns government must be willing to lose money on the Games in order to make it happen.
“It would be hard to prove that there was a dollar-for-dollar return to New South Wales or Australia that compensated for the investment we had to make (for the Sydney Olympics),” Mr Carr said.
“But I don’t think you should be looking for a conventional return. It’s run as a celebration, as a branding exercise. It’s run as an opportunity for people to remark on the kind of country and people we are,” he said.
More than 40,000 volunteers took part in the Sydney Olympics. Mr Carr says he hopes we will once again “rise to the challenge” of working together to deliver the event.
“Australia is a concept worth celebrating,” he said.
“It was one of the very best times to be an Australian. Celebrations you will remember the way an older generation (remembers) dancing in Martin Place when the Second World War ended,” Mr Carr said.
“It was one of our great unifying national celebrations”.
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