On Tuesday 1 August 2023, I made a speech in Federal Parliament on the Intellectual Property Laws Amendment Bill 2023, expressing that The Greens support for the bill should not be considered support for the Government's prioritisation of the wants of the big end of town over the needs of the community in planning for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics. You can read the full transcript below
The Intellectual Property Laws Amendment (Regulator Performance) Bill 2023 seeks to close a loophole in trademark legislation that would have allowed anyone to register a trademark for the Olympic insignia. The bill clarifies that only the Australian Olympic Committee or the International Olympic Committee can register such a trademark, providing important consumer protection. The Greens support of this particular bill, however, shouldn't be considered support or endorsement of where the IOC, the AOC and the federal, state and local governments are actually heading with the Brisbane 2032 Olympics. Hosting the Olympics in 2032 should be something that Brisbane residents can really get excited about. If well planned, the Olympics could leave us with an incredible legacy. But I fear this isn't where we're heading with these Olympics at the moment.
Just yesterday morning, residents of Kangaroo Point got the news that their much loved Raymond Park will be completely destroyed for a warm-up track—a warm-up track for a four-week sporting event. This is not to mention the ridiculous waste of our taxpayer dollars on the Gabba stadium. In fact, if you looked up the definition of madness in the dictionary you might find this: the state Labor government plans to knock down and rebuild the Gabba stadium for the Olympics, only to have to convert it back afterwards. In this process, they will actually destroy a beloved and important heritage school and disrupt a whole community. And what's the budget for this? It's already tripled to $2.7 billion, and construction hasn't even started yet.
That's $2.7 billion—likely much higher by the time it's done, given what's happening with building costs at the moment—for a state government vanity project. $2.7 billion for knocking down and rebuilding a stadium? No thanks. That's $2.7 billion we could actually spend on building thousands of beautifully designed public homes, $2.7 billion that could be spent expanding our public transport network with more high-frequency routes or $2.7 billion that could be spent on creating beautiful parklands, community libraries and public swimming pools. But, no. This is clearly not what is actually happening.
What kind of legacy is this lack of rational planning leaving? Who will these Olympics actually benefit? Clearly not the community. If the community doesn't have the ear of the Olympic planners, who actually does? We know that the property industry—and I understand this industry—and developers are absolutely salivating at the prospect of government support to build so-called affordable housing and other infrastructure without an overall vision for the future of the city, without a plan or proper controls to ensure long-term benefit for the city and its citizens and, indeed, without any definition of affordable houses. Land close to these Olympic venues is going to increase in value without landowners, who are often those very development companies, having to lift a finger, which actually incentivises land banking and thus exacerbates the housing crisis.
While the Greens are supporting this bill to clarify the use of the Olympics logo, we're not endorsing the way the state and federal governments are going about the 2032 Brisbane Olympics to date. Devastatingly, it looks like the usual story—the frankly venal and ultimately economically shortsighted prioritisation of the big end of town over the needs of the community. This massive expenditure could truly catalyse a transformative vision for the sustainable subtropical city, yet what we have here is a missed golden opportunity.