The planned rebuild of the Gabba for the 2032 Brisbane Games has been a lightning rod talking point ever since it was first mooted by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.
From pleas to spend the funds elsewhere to reimaginations again and again, the Gabba rebuild has certainly divided opinion since the city was confirmed as host venue on July 21, 2021.
This is the winding, divisive history of our ultimate legacy project >>>
Jump to: Your Gabba questions answered
DECEMBER 10, 2019
Albion Park and QEII stadium were announced as vying for the top honour of being Queensland’s 2032 Games athletics stadium, while the Gabba was mooted as host for the opening ceremony.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said her Cabinet had been presented with the possibilities of upgrading QEII, the centrepiece of the 1982 Commonwealth Games or building a new facility on the current site of the Albion harness racing track.
Ms Palaszczuk said the Gabba and Brisbane River were being considered for the opening ceremony.
“We believe that we could put on quite a show at the Gabba in terms of activating the length and the breadth of the river by having television screens and people from right across Queensland and around to world coming to watch the opening ceremony,” she said.
APRIL 20, 2021
Annastacia Palaszczuk said her government was still working out the final costing details of the demolition and redevelopment of the Gabba.
The State Government announced that the famous Brisbane Cricket Ground would be transformed into the Olympics main stadium to host the athletics and opening and closing ceremonies if southeast Queensland’s bid was successful.
The stadium’s capacity would be expanded from 42,000 seats to 50,000 seats at a proposed cost of about $1 billion.
“We have said very clearly that we need to share these funding costs and I’ll be having more to say about that over the coming days,” she said.
MAY 8, 2021
The state Opposition took aim at a $35m refurbishment of the Gabba, only to have it potentially demolished as part of a major redevelopment for the 2032 Olympic Games.
On July 1, 2019 former MP and then deputy premier Jackie Trad announced the refurbishment and the upgrades were included in the Queensland government’s Unite and Recover plans.
The LNP took aim at the decision, despite throwing its support behind the state’s Olympics bid.
Burdekin MP Dale Last attacked the spend, saying the upgrades were a total waste of money.
SEPTEMBER 25, 2022
An independent body should be tasked with managing Brisbane’s Olympic Games infrastructure, the LNP pleaded, after state government insiders flagged the Gabba rebuild could be shelved over cost blowout fears.
It was revealed the government was conducting a “project validation’’ report into why it should spend as much as $2.5bn on a new stadium for 8000 additional seats.
LNP Leader David Crisafulli said Queenslanders “deserved a plan”, and the delivery of major infrastructure for the 2032 Olympic Games must be done “on time, and on budget”.
“We’ve called from the start for an independent body to deliver this infrastructure,” he said.
OCTOBER 7, 2022
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk declared “we are 100 per cent committed to the Gabba”, dispelling concerns the Olympic organising committee would be forced to consider another central venue for Brisbane 2032.
Demolishing and rebuilding the iconic venue was the centrepiece of the city’s hosting bid but reports of the development costing more than double the initial estimate of $1 billion had triggered protests from sections of the community.
Meanwhile the boss of Brisbane 2032, Andrew Liveris, threw his support behind the Gabba being a “centre of gravity” for the city and the games – but only if it’s “done right”.
JANUARY 11, 2023
The Gabba redevelopment for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games would exceed the $1bn price tag, Acting Premier Steven Miles confirmed.
But the state government remained tight-lipped about exactly how much more taxpayers would fork out for the massive stadium revamp.
Mr Miles confirmed the cost would be “larger than was originally anticipated”, but said more details would be released once funding arrangements were finalised with the Commonwealth.
“As everyone would be aware, building costs have increased substantially since the original bid,” he said.
MARCH 16, 2023
The Palaszczuk government was under pressure to release costs associated with the Gabba redevelopment after the Auditor-General told a parliamentary committee the original $1bn figure came “from a press release”.
Deputy Leader Jarrod Bleijie called for the government to table “all business cases, studies, reviews, assessments or similar work relating to the cost of any redevelopment of the Gabba”.
It came after Queensland Auditor-General Brendan Worrall said he believed there was never “a business case supporting the billion dollars. I think you’ll find the source of that was from a press release”.
Three days later Deputy Premier Steven Miles strongly defended the $2.7bn cost for the Gabba rebuild after it was revealed the project was initially greenlit without a comprehensive business case.
APRIL 29, 2023
The next major phase of Brisbane’s two new Olympic and Paralympic showpiece stadiums began, with the state government undertaking market sounding on the development and delivery of the billion-dollar projects.
Major industry players were being engaged by the government on the $2.7bn knockdown and rebuild of the Gabba, with a similar process for the $2.5bn Brisbane Arena set to commence.
Insiders close to the projects said they backed the move, and also expected bidding for the flagship and city-changing developments to be strong despite intense pressures within the construction industry.
DECEMBER 8, 2023
A political stalemate was threatening to delay the state government’s controversial $137m RNA Showgrounds upgrade, raising fears the project wouldn’t be ready before the Gabba was demolished.
Negotiations between the state government, Brisbane City Council, AFL and Queensland Cricket over which organisations would contribute to the upgrade were understood to remain stalled.
The state government a week earlier said work on the RNA Main Arena “must begin by next year to be ready for the 2025-26 cricket season and the 2026 start of the Gabba redevelopment”.
JANUARY 19, 2024
Premier Steven Miles said Olympic events could be moved out of the southeast in an effort to cut costs, but declared no risk to Brisbane losing the Games altogether if the Gabba was not redeveloped.
After revealing he had tasked former Lord Mayor Graham Quirk with a “blank sheet” review of Games’ venues, Mr Miles said “nothing was out of the question”.
Mr Miles said he hoped Mr Quirk’s review would find an alternative to the current plan to completely knockdown and rebuild the Gabba stadium for the Games, for an estimated $2.7bn.
FEBRUARY 8, 2024
Brisbane’s controversial $2.7bn Gabba rebuild appeared dead, with Olympic powerbroker John Coates declaring the project is damaging the Games brand and “just doesn’t stack up”.
Mr Coates called for the rebuild to be axed in favour of an opening and closing ceremony at Suncorp Stadium and the athletics at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre (formerly QEII Stadium) on the city’s southside.
Brisbane 2032 Organising Committee president Andrew Liveris backed Mr Coates’s comments and slammed the lost time due to squabbling over venue upgrades.
YOUR GABBA QUESTIONS ANSWERED
What is the plan?
While this remains up in the air, under recent plans the current Gabba stadium would be demolished and rebuilt, including:
■ an increased capacity from 42,000 to 50,000 seats
■ changeroom facilities for female athletes
■ larger general admission entry concourses
■ dining options and member spaces
■ lifts and escalators
■ media and team facilities, and
■ merchandise stores.
What is the start date and finish date?
2026 has been listed as the expected construction start date.
It was due to be finished by 2030 ahead of the 2032 Games.
Where will the Brisbane Lions AFL team and cricket be played during the redevelopment?
RNA Showgrounds’ Main Arena has been identified as the best alternative venue for the Brisbane Lions and cricket during the Gabba redevelopment.
The Main Arena was slated to be upgraded to create a temporary 20,000-seat facility.
What will be the Gabba’s capacity?
It is due to be upgraded from 42,000 to 50,000, while the government has said it will be able to hold 80,000 for concerts and events so Brisbane isn’t overlooked by touring performers.
What will the Gabba look like?
Originally published as Timeline of Gabba redevelopment for the Brisbane Olympics 2032
Read related topics:Brisbane