The preselection of Kath Angus as The Greens’ candidate for the Coorparoo Ward highlights the party’s focus on the Brisbane Olympics as a frontline issue in the upcoming May 2024 Council elections.

Jonathan Sriranganathan, The Greens’ mayoral candidate announced today that a Greens-led Brisbane City Council would refuse support for the 2032 Olympics if the state government persists with its plan to spend $3 billion demolishing and rebuilding the iconic Gabba stadium to serve as the primary athletics venue.

The Greens’ decision conflicts with the Labor and Liberal National Party (LNP), who have publicly endorsed a rebuilt Gabba as a crucial Olympic venue, despite its absence from the initial venue proposal submitted to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) during Brisbane’s Olympic bid. The decision to demolish the stadium impacts the heritage East Brisbane State School, which will be pulled down, and students moved to repurposed school buildings next to Coorparoo Secondary School.

The Greens argue that the Labor Government’s support for the demolition of the East Brisbane State School has prompted fears of potential disruptions, including the relocation of the existing School of Distance Education, which currently operates from Coorparoo. This shift would also involve the compulsory acquisition of an elderly pensioner’s residence.

Sriranganathan has raised concerns about the challenges involved in rebuilding the Gabba stadium within a densely populated neighbourhood. He called for re-evaluating alternative options.

The Greens says the State Government had previously pledged to construct a new school in Coorparoo. However, the Government’s recently revealed plans to repurpose existing 1970s structures at Coorparoo Senior School have raised concerns in local communities.

“The Labor state government and LNP-dominated Brisbane City Council are working hand-in-hand to knock down East Brisbane State School and rip up Raymond Park,” Sriranganathan said.

“The major parties are tearing our community apart to make way for their Olympics and are more interested in a vanity project than caring for our school kids.”

In an interview with the Westender in August, Sriranganathan said Labor is using the Olympics as a smokescreen, “to supercharge gentrification and private property speculation and enrich their developer mates at the expense of long-term community interest.”

“I’m fighting for a city that puts local families first, not property developers and investment funds,” he said in a statement today.

The Greens announced midwife Kath Angus as their candidate for Coorparoo Ward, currently held by the LNP. This choice sets the stage for a heated contest in the upcoming Council elections.

Coorparoo Ward is in the heart of The Greens’ federal electorate of Griffith and, they claim, has been a focal point for concerns regarding the housing crisis, with rental households making up around 48 per cent of the electorate.

Based on the 2020 council election results, The Greens calculate that they will need just 1,300 votes to secure victory in the Ward, having already outperformed Labor in the previous election.

The Greens contend there has been a substantial surge in local support for the Party recently, which they attribute to their vocal opposition to the proposed Gabba stadium demolition and the associated displacement of East Brisbane State School.

Kath Angus was The Green’s mayoral candidate in 2020 and is a parent of students at East Brisbane State School and a vocal critic of the Olympics’ impacts on her community.

“The Gabba knock-down and rebuild might make some big developers and construction firms rich, but it’s a deplorable waste of money and a bad deal for our city. A Greens-led Council wouldn’t support it,” Angus said.

“If South-East Queensland has a shortage of construction workers, we should focus on building more public housing rather than knocking down a stadium and a primary school just so we can build a new, differently shaped stadium.”

This week, Education Minister Grace Grace told the Westender:

“The reality is the Gabba has reached the end of its life, and a rebuilt stadium will anchor a major urban renewal project, delivering thousands of new homes, including social and affordable housing.”

In her first interview with The Westender in September, Labor’s Mayoral candidate Tracey Price said:

“The Olympics provide a very good opportunity for our whole community across Brisbane, not just the inner city, and I think that if it’s done properly, we can leave a great legacy behind from the Olympics, but we need to make sure that that’s done properly.”

Greens State MP for South Brisbane, Amy MacMahon, has been leading the Greens’ battle against the demolition of the Gabba and the local state school to make way for the Olympics. She said last week that the community does not accept the Government’s proposed arrangements for the school and the school community will be protesting the decision outside the Gabba Stadium on 25 November.

As the controversy surrounding the Gabba stadium and the Olympics intensifies, it remains to be seen how this political stoush will shape the future of Brisbane hosting the Olympics in 2032.


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