Brisbane Olympics will cost $7bn for residents to escape the south east: KAP

Katter Party MPs Shane Knuth, Nick Dametto, Bob Katter and KAP Candidate Michael Pugh.

17 January 2024

While northern and regional Queenslanders watch their critical services diminish and battle through a major cost-of-living and housing crisis, the State’s two major political parties have reaffirmed their only focus is the south east by committing Queensland to the Brisbane Olympics.

The “voice of the north,” Katter’s Australian Party (KAP) doubled down on its calls for the estimated $7bn, four-week Brisbane event to either be scrapped or alternatively, a fund established which ensures an equal sum is spent on “critical nation-building projects in North Queensland” in the same time frame.

The renewed calls for scrapping come as the State Opposition this week confirmed it too would progress with delivering the Brisbane 2032 Olympics, which KAP’s candidate for Mundingburra Michael Pugh labelled as “disappointing, but not surprising.”

“It’s about time the government started giving a stuff about the real issues Queenslanders face, and not a four-week grandstanding event that will do absolutely nothing for the people of Mundingburra and wider Townsville region who are living in motels, cars and under bridges, abandoned and forgotten about by this government who has failed them,” Mr Pugh said.

Mr Pugh said his community would rather see funds allocated towards greater housing initiatives which could include extending homeowner grants to existing dwellings, with Census data revealing there were up to 6500 empty properties in the city.

“We’ve been told we’ve got 500 defence families coming into town… and they have nowhere to go.

“Tell me how $2bn on a Gabba rebuild helps them?”

KAP Deputy Leader and Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto who has worked as a tourism operator said he was sceptical about “benefits flowing for all of Queensland” as the Government promised, following dismal returns for North Queensland during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.

“We were told then ‘this is going to be great for the state’ but apart from a couple of Basketball games up here in North Queensland, we got nothing. None of those people stayed around, we’re not seeing any of the benefits now,” Mr Dametto said.

“In fact, people were actually looking to get out of the cities at that time – people from Gold Coast and Brisbane were escaping to North Queensland. So to spend $7bn to get some folks from Brisbane to holiday up here for four weeks… I think money could be better spent.”

Mr Dametto said if the Olympics were to go ahead, North Queensland deserved its equal share of expenditure for nation-building infrastructure.

“If the south-east gets their Olympics, regional Queenslanders want to know what’s in it for them and how will the wealth, largely generated in regional Queensland, be fairly distributed across the state.

“If the KAP controls the Parliament we would call for the Olympics to either be scrapped, or an equivalent $7bn offset fund set up to allocate money to North Queensland for better nation building infrastructure.

“Brisbane has a strong Green vote and with the way the major parties conduct themselves, that vote is only going to increase.

“There would be nothing more dangerous for this state than a Government where the Greens hold the balance of power.”

Federal KAP MP Bob Katter echoed Mr Dametto’s calls urging North Queenslanders to begin “saying no to the ‘Brisbane parties’ and start voting in people who will actually fight and deliver for your region.”

“The KAP is knocking on the door, and when we control Brisbane, lookout – our industries will explode with growth, so will our cities and we will reap the benefits of the wealth we generate.”

Hill MP Shane Knuth said the moment the Olympics were agreed to for Brisbane “it was a disappointment for rural and regional Queensland.”

“Straight away, we started to see funds from important projects in our areas trickle away, at that very moment,” Mr Knuth said.

“Let’s cast our minds back to 2016 and 2017 where the KAP along with Townsville Enterprise and Advance Cairns identified that North Queensland was generating $3bn in royalties, but only getting back $100m in spending.”

KAP Thuringowa candidate Clynton Hawks said residents in his electorate were reporting to him they did not want Queensland to host the Olympics, but rather funds be allocated towards basics essential services.


Nick Dametto MP