Darren Lockyer made more than a few excellent judgment calls on the rugby league field.
On Sunday the former Bronco, Queensland and Australian captain threw that judgment behind Queensland’s potential bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games.
“There is a lot of excitement around the city. Everyone you talk to is excited,” the league champion said.
“I just think it’s a no-brainer and we’ve just got to have a red-hot crack at it.”
The polished league star – now a Nine commentator and State of Origin selector – was one of 30 business and community leaders offering their full support to Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in a signed open letter released on Sunday.
“The investment that comes with the infrastructure -there is a cost to deliver that infrastructure – but we will get that back in spades,” Lockyer said.
“We have the government sitting there deliberating and doing their due diligence on this, but I urge the Premier and her government to get in there and let’s give it a crack.”
The open letter – largely a large-scale public relations exercise to show the city’s support for a 2032 bid – is signed by a who’s who of Queensland names.
They include former international cricketer Ian Healy, former premier Campbell Newman, former lord mayor Graham Quirk, builder Scott Hutchinson, entertainment entrepreneur Harvey Lister, Geoff Rodgers from Rowland, Lady Jane Edwards, Stephen Conry from Jones Lang Lasalle, Brisbane City Hall redevelopment chairman Nigel Chamier and restaurateur John Gambaro.
Mr Gambaro agreed it was time south-east Queensland lodged a bid as the region had done an excellent job hosting key international sporting and cultural events since the 1982 Commonwealth Games.
Tourism Minister Kate Jones, while announcing an international beach volleyball event for Coolangatta in March 2020, said a decision on whether Queensland would bid to host the 2032 Games or not would be taken by the end of 2019.
“We should have that decision by the end of the year,” Ms Jones said, on Sunday.
Ms Jones welcomed the open letter, saying it was “heartening” to see so many people warming to the idea of Queensland being able to host the Games.
“We are working through the value proposition to make sure that it stacks up,” she said.
“The Premier has said from day one that we need all three levels of government to support the Olympic Games just like they did for Sydney in 2000.”
Assessment of the Queensland Olympics 2032 “true value proposition” would be finished by the end of the year, Ms Jones said.
“It is really exciting to see the lord mayor getting behind, but for a successful Olympic Games – a global-led Games – we need all three levels of government behind it and backing it.” she said.
“I must say that all three levels of government have been working collaboratively behind closed doors to get those [costs and benefits] as close as possible.”
Ms Jones said the 2018 Commonwealth Games was a good example of how Queenslanders pulled together.
“A lot of doubters knocked us 10 years ago whether we could host the Commonwealth Games on the God Coast and we proved every single one of them wrong.”
Lord mayor Adrian Schrinner, standing at the Expo ’88 legacy of the South Bank Parklands, said if Queensland decided not to bid it could be the state’s biggest-ever regret.
“Everything that I have seen as lord mayor would indicate that this is a great opportunity and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our region to really go the next level,” he said.