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Gold Coast Games boss gets the chop

Former Olympian Mark Stockwell

Former Olympian Mark Stockwell

The man who spearheaded the Gold Coast’s successful bid to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games has been dumped as chairman of the organising committee.

The Liberal National Party state government confirmed the new board would not include developer Mark Stockwell, a former Olympic swimming medallist and past president of the Property Council’s Queensland division.

The move comes in the wake of a rumoured disagreement between Mr Stockwell and senior LNP figures over the planned location for the athletes’ village.

In April, the Gold Coast Bulletin reported there was significant opposition to housing the village at Parklands, with the Gold Coast Harness Racing Club, the Gold Coast Show Society and Big Day Out organisers among those calling for a different location to be chosen.

But Mr Stockwell dug in on the location, telling the newspaper the bid was too advanced and contracts had already been signed.

He argued Parklands was big enough to host the village and the homes would have a strong resale value given it was close to key infrastructure.

Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey made no mention of the matter in her media statement, instead saying it was time to “transition to a board that has the confidence of the government, the Commonwealth Games Association, and the public”.

She said she would not put Mr Stockwell’s name forward for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games board due to be considered by Cabinet tomorrow because it was time for “a fresh start”.

The board would include four nominees from the state government and four nominees from the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.

The confirmation of Mr Stockwell’s exclusion comes two months after Ms Stuckey appeared to endorse him shortly after she was sworn in as a minister.

“As the Minister for the Commonwealth Games, I look forward to working closely with chairman Mark Stockwell and his team to ensure the event sees the Gold Coast, and Queensland, shine as a major tourism, sporting, events and business destination,” she said in a media release on April 4.

In her latest statement, Ms Stuckey acknowledged Mr Stockwell’s role in successfully steering the bid for the Gold Coast games, but said the government was working hard “to strike the right balance” with the new board.

“To ensure that these games are delivered on time, and importantly on budget, the LNP Newman government needs to put in place a board that will quickly get on with the major infrastructure planning and delivery of this billion dollar event,” she said.

“What is needed now for the Gold Coast Games are well-credentialled people who have qualifications in law, finance, development, and the commercial sector along with prominent sporting people who can make a significant contribution in the building and operations of the games.”

In December, the former Labor government announced the appointment of Mr Stockwell as chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee, in the wake of his success heading the bid.

The former government said he was appointed on the recommendation of then-premier Anna Bligh and the President of the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday called on the Newman government to better explain its decision to dump Mr Stockwell.

“I sincerely hope that the decision did not rest on the fact Mr Stockwell was appointed by the previous government,” she said.

“Mr Stockwell is highly regarded in the business and sporting arenas, which just adds to the need for a fuller explanation from the government.

“Queenslanders and other Australians need to know that vital decisions about the 2018 Games are being taken on a sound and objective basis.”

The list of appointees to the board is due to go to Cabinet tomorrow and is expected to be made public after being endorsed at an Executive Council meeting on Thursday.

Comment has been sought from Mr Stockwell.

42 comments so far

  • Next up, cancel the Commonwealth Games. We can't afford the hundreds of millions it will cost us. Let someone else have the debt it will incur.

    Commenter
    Rutil
    Location
    Bris
    Date and time
    May 06, 2012, 1:29PM
    • It is interesting that in all reality only a few narrow interest groups ever make money out of these circuses while the taxpayer get slugged for the cost.

      The Melbourne games last decade basically resulted in the privatisation of public land for private housing and a free upgrade for the MCG - any other "benefits" have evaporated long ago.

      I wonder how the citizens of Athens feel now about the billions they wasted on their games?, Oh - we can see how happy they are on the news each night.....

      Commenter
      DC
      Location
      Melbourne
      Date and time
      May 06, 2012, 1:43PM
    • The advertising for Queensland into the Asian markets like India because of the games will more than compensate the initial outlay. Plus as a bonus the GC gets all the great infrastructure upgrades like new roads and light rail. Tourism needs all the help it can get at the moment.
      This was one of the few Labor achievements IMO.

      Commenter
      Beetle07
      Date and time
      May 06, 2012, 1:54PM
    • I agree. The taxpayers can't really afford these games. Too soon after the cyclone and floods disasters.

      Commenter
      Spectator
      Location
      Uki
      Date and time
      May 06, 2012, 2:11PM
    • Leave a fast growing country like Sri Lanka to host it (finalist in venue selection). They would do a terrific job with 25% of the cost.

      Commenter
      user
      Location
      Australia
      Date and time
      May 06, 2012, 2:15PM
    • @Beetle07, typical government spin in an effort to justify their ego-driven project. We could advertise on all forms of media, in all countries in Asia, for days on end, for a fraction of the LOSSES we will make on this debacle.

      If this was one of the ALP's (read Bligh's ego) achievements, then it's not surprising they were kicked out. It was one of their final destructive acts. They never listened to what the majority wanted, or didn't want. And they still don't.

      Commenter
      Rutil
      Location
      Bris
      Date and time
      May 06, 2012, 2:45PM
    • @Rutil Location Bris Date and time May 06, 2012, 2:45PM

      It's pessimists like you who are bringing down this country mate.

      When the games are here, you'll watch them, as you will hook up to the NBN when it gets to your street.

      Cynical, negative pessimists...

      Commenter
      You know wot I'm sayin'?
      Date and time
      May 06, 2012, 4:14PM
  • Don't tell me Peter Costello has the job! Good luck QLD you are about to see the full ramafications of LNP ideoogy let of the leash.Chronism taken to new heights,jobs for the boys (and odd girl),no accountability just quickfire decisions without scrutiny.Just ask the average Victorian how badly the LNP government in Victoria is going.Good luck QLD "Can Do" will do.

    Commenter
    Funny that
    Location
    Vic
    Date and time
    May 06, 2012, 2:12PM
    • Who really cares about the Commonwealth games now?...There are not many Commonwealth countries interested in the games...outside these countries no is interested...Just have the Olympics and that is it..It is a HUGE waste of money..........and don't forget there were only 2 cities interested in 2018 games...and the loser probably could not have afforded it anyway...

      Commenter
      kami
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      May 06, 2012, 2:15PM
      • um.... India for one
        and that's nearly a billion people
        With a rapidly increasing middle class there is a lot of benefit I would say.
        (Although having grown up in Brisbane I am no fan of the Gold Coast - it's always been tawdry and tacky)

        Commenter
        michael
        Location
        north caulfield
        Date and time
        May 06, 2012, 4:30PM

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