With Brisbane set to host the 2032 Olympic Games, is Canberra capable of playing a role?

Tim Gavel 26 July 2021 59
Canberra Stadium

Could Canberra Stadium play a role in the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games? Photo: Supplied.

In the lead up to the Sydney 2000 Olympics, plenty was happening behind the scenes, with cities jockeying to play a role. The Sydney Olympics used 30 venues for competition events, while more than 60 were used as training bases.

In 1996, following an invitation from the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, the ACT Government lodged a bid to host preliminary round matches in football and be the training base for several teams.

The ACT Government promised to redevelop Bruce Stadium, as it was known then, if the bid to host Olympic football matches was successful.

History shows that Canberra won the bid, hosted preliminary rounds, and provided training venues for visiting teams.

Bruce Stadium was renovated and costs blew out considerably. The political cost to the ACT Government at the time was just as significant.


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I mention this point as it could become a factor if the ACT considers bidding for a role in 2032. And having just read the Auditor-General’s report into the redevelopment, there are plenty of lessons to be learned.

On a positive note, the hosting of games at Bruce Stadium provided a ‘feel good’ factor in the city, which is hard to quantify financially.

In 2000 Olympic Football was played in Sydney, Canberra, Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne. Football was the only sport on the Sydney Olympic program played in other states and territories.

If Brisbane follows suit and invites other cities to host football matches, Canberra Stadium wouldn’t pass muster. At best, it could be a venue for training.

I’m sure Canberra will play a major role in the lead up to the Olympics with plenty of training camps at the AIS, but in terms of hosting events, it is hard to identify many venues in Canberra capable of even hosting lead up events, apart from mountain biking at Stromlo Forest Park and hockey at Lyneham.

AIS Arena

AIS Arena is temporarily closed. Photo: Tim Gavel.

With the AIS Arena out of action, there is no indoor facility in Canberra capable of accommodating even warm-up matches for basketball, volleyball, badminton and many more.

We don’t have a competition swimming pool with adequate seating, and there is no decent velodrome for track cycling.

If Brisbane invites Canberra to bid for a role, there would be plenty to consider, including constructing a new stadium. It could also be the catalyst for action in the ACT.


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59 Responses to With Brisbane set to host the 2032 Olympic Games, is Canberra capable of playing a role?
Futureproof Futureproof 2:07 pm 25 Jul 21

Canberra could host the long jump events. Pothole jumping. Already available on the Monaro Highway

Dan Power Dan Power 6:57 am 25 Jul 21

We are the nations capital FFS and the capital with the absolute coldest, shittiest weather in the country.

Just build us a version of Docklands stadium with a roof and you’ll attract more A class concerts and sporting events!

Quit F&$king about!

    Martin Barr Martin Barr 10:25 am 25 Jul 21

    If one place in Australia needs a indoor venue it is Canberra. I still shiver at the memory of watching Rugby at Canberra Stadium in negative temperatures.

Trent Cannell Trent Cannell 2:11 am 25 Jul 21

If we needed yet another reason to build a city-based stadium. It’s a joke that we think GIO is a suitable venue for Canberra sporting events. Think about the capital that could be generated from attendance at a city based possible enclosed stadium in Canberra……just saying

Kimmy Hunter Kimmy Hunter 10:29 pm 22 Jul 21

It will never happen

bd84 bd84 11:15 am 22 Jul 21

Not possible, but they might be able to catch a tram to Commonwealth park that takes the wrong route and utilises more poor design.

Angelo Turcin Angelo Turcin 9:14 pm 21 Jul 21

Forget it spend the money on attracting annual big sporting events to the nations capital. Brisbane you wanted it ,you have it , you spend it ..simple.

Garry Peadon Garry Peadon 8:56 pm 21 Jul 21

Just paint the grass green…

Jason Todd Jason Todd 6:55 pm 21 Jul 21

a new stadium in the city would be great.

Rosalind Turner Rosalind Turner 5:20 pm 21 Jul 21

Tram track to Woden will still be in progress then ...

Finally Relented Finally Relented 2:23 pm 21 Jul 21

AIS has been decimated.

Valerie Foster Valerie Foster 12:32 pm 21 Jul 21

No to hosting it in the first place.

Michael Kummle Michael Kummle 12:06 pm 21 Jul 21

Well, this needs to be fixed and it needs to be fixed right now. There is no way the pandemic is going to end very soon. It would be great for Brisbane to get the Olympics and if there is to be matches happening outside of Brisbane, we hope that Canberra plays a role in it and that their facilities are better than ever.

Guy Hosking Guy Hosking 12:06 pm 21 Jul 21

Canberra already subsidises the Qld government through the QIC ownership of the Canberra Centre which has a lot to do with the desolation found in Garema Place and City Walk.

    Shan Weereratne Shan Weereratne 7:10 am 22 Jul 21

    Guy Hosking, concur. Special treatment too for QIC allowing them to leave the land on Cooyong street underdeveloped for over 10 years, while fining the skin out of ordinary citizens who leave land vacant. Civic is the Canberra Centre and virtually nothing else.

Justin Watson Justin Watson 11:43 am 21 Jul 21

By then Canberra Stadium will be something like 55 years old. Very few Stadium in the world last that long without significant upgrades like new stands and facilities. I can't help but think if we actually started to build the new stadium, we might have attrac ted an A-League club and some more Rugby test matches and maybe that third state of origin. I get that its expensive, but most infrastructure is expensive. 500 million or whatever it costs will still be a fraction of what we spend on health and education, the two things people like to complain about getting more funding.

I get covid is an issue right now, but we really should be looking at building this stadium before 2027, which I think will be the Rugby World cup. Olympic football games are typically spread around the country, so its a possibility there may be some football games for the 2032 olympics.

Elspeth Shannon Rollason Elspeth Shannon Rollason 10:36 am 21 Jul 21

As if Aunty Anna would share the Olympics with another state 😂😂😂

Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 10:22 am 21 Jul 21

will Covid be over by then and not up to strain Alfa-Omega-2

    Josh Merkel Josh Merkel 9:13 pm 21 Jul 21

    Daniel Duncan Nah we will still be in lockdown for the 2 deaths

Garvin Francis Garvin Francis 9:06 am 21 Jul 21

How is Canberra part of Brisbane?

    Martin Tierney Martin Tierney 9:17 am 21 Jul 21

    Garvin Francis hey garv.. bowraville is part of qld, why wouldnt they claim canberra aswell...

    Darren Porter Darren Porter 9:25 am 21 Jul 21

    Garvin Francis like the Sydney Olympics, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide and Melbourne hosted football games. I guess they are thinking something similar. 🤷‍♂️

    Dan Ede Dan Ede 11:58 am 25 Jul 21

    Quality Pun

Mark Monterosso Mark Monterosso 8:45 am 21 Jul 21

If we weren't smart enough to be apart of the Women's football world cup, why would we be part of the Olympics?

    Barry Dobson Barry Dobson 10:11 am 21 Jul 21

    Mark Monterosso You mean Canberra was smart enough to have our law changed to give all the profit and forgo tax venue to the benefit of FIFA. You know that non-profit organisation which has a cash reverse over 2 billion

Malcolm Campbell Malcolm Campbell 8:34 am 21 Jul 21

Australia 🇦🇺 does not need to host the Olympic Games. Palachook is already bankrupt. Why make it worse for Queenslanders

    Liam O'Toole Liam O'Toole 9:28 am 21 Jul 21

    Malcolm Campbell It's perception. And Australians will vote based on smoke and mirrors rather than substance.

    Mark Ryan Mark Ryan 6:30 am 22 Jul 21

    Malcolm Campbell exactly. The IOC shold be reducing the size of the games not adding more. It is now unaffordable.

Rukshan Abeyaratne Rukshan Abeyaratne 7:56 am 21 Jul 21

About time the ACT stands up for itself and stops the whinging about the ‘Canberra bashing’. If we had the facilities here that we deserved, we would be hosting NRL Bubble and AFL bubbles. Need to show how good this city is by improving the facilities. In the only major city which has not had any Covid for over 12 months. Instead cities like the Gold Coast see benefitting at the moment. We should have a state of the art football stadium in the city and a major cricket/AFL stadium. Instead we have facilities made for early 2000s.

    Robert Azzopardi Robert Azzopardi 8:39 am 21 Jul 21

    Rukshan Abeyaratne we currently have AFL, NRL and cricket standard grounds / facilities. You’re making out like Canberra is some backwater.

    The facts are that the NRL is not interested in Canberra .. that was clearly shown at the beginning of Covid and now .. until last week the Storm where not required to relocate however a city that hasn’t seen the virus for over a year had to relocate to a city that has seen the virus and a number of lockdowns.

    However yes I am in favour of a new stadium in the city.

    Rukshan Abeyaratne Rukshan Abeyaratne 8:46 am 21 Jul 21

    My point is we as a city do not fight back at the negative comments. An AFL/cricket stadium which holds only 12,000 and a football stadium made for events in 2000 is not good enough for the capital of Australia. In terms of the NRL, I couldn't see the Raiders fighting hard to stay in Canberra, which they should have. As they should have done last year as well. My point is we need to stand-up for ourselves instead of lamenting the ‘Canberra bashing’.

    Jon Billows Jon Billows 9:22 am 21 Jul 21

    Rukshan Abeyaratne Manuka and GIO are not up to standard compared to every other venue in the country.

    I'd rather Canberrans fight for better facilities, rather than accept the inadequate.

    Robert Azzopardi Robert Azzopardi 9:58 am 21 Jul 21

    Rukshan Abeyaratne I agree but do you honestly think the Raiders (for instance) didn’t try to get a better deal at the beginning of covid and the latest relocation ??

    The facts are that the NRL pampers to the Sydney clubs, Brisbane and Melbourne. Canberra is in the comp to make up the numbers. The NRL has always made it difficult for the Raiders to exist especially when you consider the uneven playing field with 3rd party payments and FTA coverage.

    Rukshan Abeyaratne Rukshan Abeyaratne 1:21 pm 21 Jul 21

    Jon Billows my point exactly. We dont even have the facilities to host major concerts. All the suburban grounds in Syndey are going to get upgrades. If we had the facilities for 2021, we’d be able to sell the city better. We could have easily have sold the city better during a time when the rest of the country was in lockdown and we aren't.

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