MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A successful bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games in Queensland could help Australia recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, the country’s Olympic chief John Coates has said.
The northeastern state suspended its work on its bid last month, citing a need to focus on its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the suspension, Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President Coates said authorities recognised the Games’ potential to heal the economy, which is in its biggest downturn since the 1930s.
“There is already a need for jobs and growth in the Queensland economy arising from the impact of COVID-19,” Coates said in quotes published by The Australian newspaper late on Tuesday.
Coates said local, state and federal government recognised the potential for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games as a “critical part of the state and nation’s economic recovery in the short term”.
The Games would also bring long-term health, wellbeing, economic and sporting legacies, he added.
Coates said the AOC stood ready to resume dialogue with the International Olympic Committee once the Queensland state and federal governments gave the green light.
“A decision could be as early as 2022 or 2023,” he said.
Coates also said Queensland had 85% of the required Olympic venues in place and downplayed the cost of hosting.
“For any of you who may be concerned about the $4.5bn cost of conducting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the IOC has already committed $2.5bn at least, being the amount of its contributions to the 2028 Games in Los Angeles,” he said.
A number of countries have expressed interest in 2032 bids, including Germany, Spain, India, Indonesia and a joint bid from North and South Korea.
Paris is hosting the 2024 Games with Los Angeles confirmed for 2028.
Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford