It is truly a once in a lifetime moment having Brisbane announced as the Olympic host for 2032.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) principles are expressed in the following statement “Olympism is a philosophy of life, which places sport at the service of mankind”. With a Vision of “Building a better world through sport” underpinned by the values of “Excellence, Respect and Friendship”. The Olympic motto is “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”.

How can Queensland embrace those Olympic principles, values, and motto across the state through the investment and growth opportunities the Olympics will enable?

Unfortunately, we often measure prosperity in economic terms using averages or individual examples. However, the prosperity of a society must include and benefit all people that live in that society not just the average or the successful few.

Recent coverage of the housing price boom is an example of economic prosperity with the average property prices increasing substantially across the State, but this story has a darker side with thousands of low-income families shut out of that market and unable to afford rent in their community placing them at a high risk of homelessness.

Olympic host cities have historically cleared away and marginalised their homeless in advance of the games. For example, in Rio private security guards cleared the streets of homeless people, sometimes transporting them to shelters 50 miles away from the city. Similar action was taken in London and the Vancouver Winter games. Such action is not aligned to the Olympic principles of “Building a better world” underpinned by the human value of respect.

The Olympics is an opportunity for Queensland to prosper both economically and socially. Wouldn’t it be world leading to set goals such as, Brisbane being the first Olympic host city to solve the problem of housing and homelessness, be recognized as a safe and welcoming place for refugees and those seeking asylum from human rights abuse, celebrate advanced reconciliation with our own indigenous people, and be a net-zero Olympic host. How proud would we be to present our state to the world from such a strong and dignified platform of humanity
– a “philosophy of life” of truly Olympic proportions.

Smart investments that support firstly a long term sustainable social foundation (housing, public amenities, human rights, employment) with equal participation and access for all will accelerate our social and economic growth by engaging and including all people in the Olympic opportunities, and therefore, the Olympic prosperity generated will be enduring, memorable and provide substantial benefits for many future generations to enjoy.

In line with Olympic principles, let’s take this opportunity to invest and grow as a society and not just an economy. Let’s “Build a better world” and be “Faster, Higher, Stronger – Together”.