By CAITLIN CROWLEY
TOOWOOMBA business tycoon John Wagner is one of four regional Queenslanders appointed to the prestigious committee tasked with ensuring the state receives long-term benefits from the 2032 Olympic Games, but he’s adamant he won’t be using the position to push for events to be run in Toowoomba, or that the city receive any particular infrastructure boost.
More than 400 applications for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Legacy Committee were received by the state government, with that figure whittled down to the final 12, announced last week.
John Wagner told the Caller, while he’ll be representing Toowoomba and regional Queensland, the committee must represent all of Queensland.
“I won’t be pushing for anything in particular at the moment,” Wagner said.
“It’s really important to me that we get the best out of this Olympics process and make sure that whatever we do is good for all Queenslanders going forward.”
He said while he’d personally love to see Toowoomba host Olympic events, “that’s not the role of this committee.”
“This is to work out how we can get the best for the long term, post the Olympics,” he said.
“It’s certainly not my position to be trying to convince people to run events in Toowoomba but as ‘Joe Citizen Toowoomba’, I’d like to see some Olympic events in Toowoomba.
“I think the biggest thing for me is to make sure that every diverse group in Queensland, no matter who you are, feels a lot of pride in what we’re doing as far as the Olympics goes.
“To make sure that their children and grandchildren can see some benefit over the next generations – that’s really my objective at this point in time.”
Toowoomba disability advocate and author Sharon Boyce (pictured left ) is another Darling Downs identity selected for the committee.
She is well acquainted with high profile advisory roles, chairing the state government’s Queensland Disability Advisory Council and sitting on the Independent Advisory Council to the NDIS.
The Caller understands Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) is also on the verge of finalising the Toowoomba Olympics Taskforce after calling for expressions of interest from the community earlier this year.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that while 2032 will be the biggest single transformational event in Queensland’s history, the Legacy Committee will focus on the years that follow.
“I will be asking these Committee members to be the voice for their street, their community, their school, workplace and for all Queenslanders, and to think big in imagining the positive legacy these Games can have in transforming our State,” Palaszczuk said.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has been named Committee Chair and said the group would be looking for partnership opportunities and strategies to inspire community involvement.
“Members will provide expertise and advice on legacy and seek the views of other Queenslanders on priorities for opportunities in their communities,” Hinchliffe said.
“We want to see the 2032 Games’ legacy benefits come to life in communities wherever they are in Queensland. This is a unique opportunity to prioritise what we want from Brisbane 2032.”
It’s that transformational potential circular economy expert Ashleigh Morris wants to see harnessed, after being named among the 12 Legacy Committee members.
She told the Caller the Olympics can be a catalyst for a new economic framework for Queensland and Australia.
“I think we have to go beyond thinking it’s where the sport’s going to be played,” she said.
“This Games is probably going to touch all of us in one way or another. I would hate for anyone to see the Games as something they won’t be included in.”
One example Morris gave was managing the process of feeding the athletes, from the moment produce is picked on Queensland farmers, to its transport to the Games and returning waste products to the soil as compost.
“Once it hits the plate, making sure we’re managing all the scraps and materials that come from that process,” she said.
“It’s a really practical, simple example of how we close that loop.”
The Brisbane 2032 Legacy Committee members:
- Stirling Hinchliffe as the Committee Chair – Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement
- Georgina Richters as the Committee Deputy Chair – First Nations consultant
- Sharon Boyce – educator, author and disability advocate
- Cameron Costello – Quandamooka traditional owner and passionate advocate for reconciliation
- Wayne Gerard – Company Director, CEO, Founder and innovation advocate
- Danya Hodgetts – sporting advocate and sport and physical activity researcher
- Diaswati Mardiasmo – economist in the housing and property sector, researcher, diversity and inclusion advocate
- Ashleigh Morris – internationally recognised expert in circular economy
- Cameron Pegg – communications consultant and inclusive sport advocate
- Ingrid Proud – experienced major event professional
- Imogen Ruyg – 17-year-old Normanton resident and Youth Parliament Member for Gladstone
- John Wagner – business leader and founder, advocate for regional Queensland
- Siwei (Samuel) Zhu – 17-year-old student representative and school council member from South Brisbane.