MELBOURNE (Reuters) – International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach has praised Southeast Queensland’s early planning for a potential bid for the 2032 Summer Games after meeting with the mayor of Brisbane on Monday.
Queensland state capital Brisbane and nearby cities commissioned a feasibility study into hosting the Games but have yet to secure state and federal government support for a formal bid.
“I must say that we have been impressed to see how detailed the feasibility studies are already at this early stage and how well founded these studies are,” Bach told reporters in Brisbane.
“Now it is up to the Australians to make their minds up, and to say whether they want to follow up on this project to host the Olympic Games.”
With Paris hosting the 2024 Games and Los Angeles winning 2028, the 2032 Games is expected to go to an Asia-Pacific bid.
The IOC has suggested North and South Korea, who are still technically at war, could stage a joint bid in 2032.
Bach met with Brisbane mayor Adrian Schrinner, the chairman of the Council of Mayors South East Queensland, which commissioned the feasibility study.
The study found the Southeast Queensland (SEQ) bid could host a successful Games but would require extensive transport upgrades.
Bach said the IOC would at least match its 2028 funding contribution of $1.8 billion to the winner of the 2032 Games, which was more than the feasibility study had accounted for.
“At least so far we have no indication that this will be less for 2032,” he said.
“I think this figure was new to the mayors and I could see them starting calculating in their heads and what this means for their feasibility study and for their budget.”
Schrinner said he did not believe a decision on a formal bid would need to be made until 2020.
“The next step is getting the state and federal governments involved, we have been working closely with them already,” he said.
The SEQ bid includes venue hubs in Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, which successfully hosted the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate said his city would be happy to make its facilities available for the SEQ bid but was reluctant to contribute funding.
“I said that we won’t be adding any dollars towards the funding part because we did a lot of our heavy lifting during the Commonwealth Games as far as our funding and budget’s concerned,” he said.
“It’s time that Gold Coast takes a break and lets Brisbane write the cheques.”
Bach is expected to meet Queensland state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Tuesday.
Australia last hosted an Olympics in Sydney in 2000.
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)