Cairns poised as potential Olympic co-host city
THE roar and spectacle of Olympics soccer could play out in Cairns if the state and federal governments spread infrastructure investment beyond Queensland's southeast corner.
Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates yesterday met Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in Cairns ahead of the Council of Australian Governments forum today.
They were there to set the groundwork for a southeast Queensland bid to host the 2032 Olympics - and Cairns' potential to host preliminary events got a special mention.
"Cairns could have football," Mr Coates said.
"There's a proposal at the moment to upgrade the Cazalys Stadium, albeit we'd have to make it temporarily rectangular."
Mr Coates said the city would be well placed to host early matches of the world game if the stadium was upgraded to 20,000 seats.
The other tangible benefits would come from sporting teams using Cairns as a pre-games training base and an influx of tourists.
The Premier was keen for Cairns to play a role but stopped short of revealing which sports the city was best suited to host.
"I would love Cairns to have some events here, absolutely," she said.
"With the Commonwealth Games, we were able to include Cairns and Townsville as well, and there will be opportunities for other regional cities."
The potential for Cazalys to be the battleground for some of the games' preliminary international bouts surprised Cairns AFL managing director Gary Young.
He had been spearheading a proposal to build a $25 million new 2200-seat grandstand to increase the stadium's total undercover seating to about 5000 - well short of the 20,000 required for the Olympics, and so far unable to gain funding.
However, plenty could happen between now and 2032.
"It's all subject to getting some serious funding through government grants, whether that's federal, state or council assistance," Mr Young said.
"We always put in a bit ourselves, which is a bit different to most sports, but we can't do it all."
Mr Morrison said he was keen to see all of Queensland benefit from what he was confident would be a successful bid.
"I'm a Sydney boy and I know what it did for our city, and I know what it did for Australia," he said.