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The Olympics, fast rail and even faster supercars would shine a spotlight on the western corridor, opening up jobs and investment, the area’s leaders say.
Toowoomba titans, the Wagners, have set aside a special Olympics precinct as part of their development where they reckon they can build anything required – archery, BMX and even equestrian facilities.
John Wagner said securing the 2032 Olympics would transform southeast Queensland and have massive knock-on benefits for the rest of the state with tourism exposure and procurement opportunities. But government needs to get on with building the transport infrastructure, including fast rail, the region needs to handle its growing population.
The Wagners have unveiled plans for a $175 million speedway and 40,000-person amphitheatre and motorsport precinct that will lure speed fans to Toowoomba.
The Wagners Corporation chairman said there is also land set aside for the Olympics in the region the family have transformed with the construction of their Wellcamp Airport.
Rise of the West, in partnership with the University of Southern Queensland, has celebrated this pioneering region and its people every day this week in The Sunday Mail, The Courier-Mail, Toowoomba Chronicle and Queensland Times online.
University of Southern Queensland associate professor Ben Lyons said the airport had increased high-value freight exports as well as hooking up what is, perhaps surprisingly, Queensland’s greatest regional concentration of white-collar professionals with links to Sydney and other economic centres.
Calls continue for a Shinkansen-style fast rail system for southeast Queensland.
University of Southern Queensland Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor John Cole said the Olympics would spur facilities, as the region desperately needed a tartan running track for athletics.
He said the university was willing to co-fund the track at its Ipswich campus, but make it accessible to the community.
“The Olympics would be a great driver for a project like this,” Prof Cole said.
“The region needs it. It could provide a decade of training opportunities for kids in this region, it could be used by teams during the Games and would be a great legacy for the western corridor.”
In June 2019, The Courier-Mail and sister SEQ mastheads officially backed the bid with front page editorials and has continued to fuel the push for the 2032 Games and the billions of dollars and 100,000 jobs it promises.
The SEQ Council of Mayors proposed a Games bid to fast-track public transport with a feasibility study which gathered momentum on the back of The Courier-Mail’s Future SEQ campaign that warned the southeast risked grinding to a halt as major roads hit peak congestion by the early 2030s as the population grew from 3.5 million to 5.5 million people.
Brisbane secured preferred candidate status in February, meaning the International Olympic Committee is talking exclusively to our organising committee.
The proposal is expected to go to the host commission in mid-May, and all going well, could go to a full IOC vote in July to decide whether Brisbane gets the Games.
Transport Minister Mark Bailey said planning for a future passenger rail service between Brisbane and Toowoomba and between Salisbury and Beaudesert was under way but said fast rail had to stack up.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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