New QLD Premier’s $7B Pledge for ‘Greener’ Olympic Venues: What’s Next?

UPDATED: The newly appointed Premier Steven Miles wants the 2032 Games to leave "climate positive" legacy

Sun 17 Dec 23


The Queensland Government has recommitted to delivering a carbon-positive game, with the newly appointed Queensland Premier Steven Miles confirming that the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Committee will use “cleaner, greener, more sustainable products” as part of its $7 Billion infrastructure spending.

Premier Miles, who yesterday replaced outgoing Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk to become Queensland’s 40th Premier, was at the COP28 Climate Summit, where more than 40 countries supported new initiatives to drive climate action in cities, spanning buildings, waste, transport, water, and nature.

It includes “The Buildings Breakthrough”, – which aims to make ‘near-zero and resilient buildings’ the new normal by 2030 and the “Forest & Climate Leaders’ Partnership’s (FCLP) Greening Construction with Sustainable Wood Initiative”, – as reported by Wood Central last week.

These two initiatives and the Cement Breakthrough “aim to unlock intergovernmental and multi-level collaboration in response to the Global Stocktake.”

In addition, “they offer national governments and other stakeholders a framework to rapidly transform the building sector with greater mitigation, adaptation, and resilience.”

Australia and leaders from 40 countries have now committed to driving decarbonisation, adaptation and resilience in the built environment – footage courtesy of @GlobalABC.

Whilst the games are still nine years away, planning is already underway in one of Australia’s largest and most significant urban renewal projects.

According to the Premier, who is directly responsible for overseeing the Olympic Delivery Authority and managing the infrastructure projects, the climate-positive commitment “will go a long way in helping us achieve that goal while delivering the infrastructure our growing state needs.”

“Not only will this help protect our environment,” he said, but “it will help strengthen the Queensland economy for the future.”

Last month, Wood Central reported that the Queensland government has broken with international precedent and will keep the Olympic Delivery Authority – the group that oversees Games infrastructure – squarely within the public sector.

However, Premier Miles vowed to reinstate the independent co-ordination committee yesterday, which would remove full autonomy from the state government.

Climate-positive means that activity goes beyond achieving net-zero carbon emissions to create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. 

Structural timber, which can sequester carbon from the atmosphere and absorb it into wood sold during growth and stored over time, is recognised as one of the most effective building materials for reducing atmospheric greenhouse gas levels and global warming.

Screenshot 2023 12 07 092341
Mick Stephens, Timber Queensland CEO, with Queensland’s new Premier Steven Miles who is directly responsible for the Olympics and Paralympic Games Infrastructure. (Photo Credit: Mick Stephens)

“Using wood products can capture and store large amounts of carbon while also having far less emissions compared to other building materials,” according to Mick Stephens, Timber Queensland’s CEO, also at COP28 in Dubai.

“Globally, the building and construction industry accounts for a third of total emissions,” he said, with the commitments outlined at COP28 providing “a clear recognition of the government’s role in promoting the greater use of wood from sustainably managed forests, which can reduce the carbon footprint from the built environment.”

He said a lot of public policy had focused “on the operational energy efficiency of buildings rather than the embodied energy stored within the material used.”

However, the real progress is targeting embodied carbon – Davina Rooney, the CEO of the Green Building Council of Australia, points to a surge in timber “green buildings” with embodied carbon “on the radar of every developer and landlord” Australia-wide.

“This is real progress and can collectively help advance timber supply chain readiness and capacity with builders, engineers and architects for climate-proofing future buildings,” Mr Stephens said.

Mr Stephens, who met with Premier Miles in Dubai, said Timber Queensland is already working with the state government to develop a “carbon-positive roadmap for the forest and timber industry “to contribute to lower carbon outcomes for future public infrastructure and housing needs.”

“We are particularly excited by the opportunities for timber systems to support essential infrastructure for the Brisbane 2032 Olympics and Paralympic Games.”

In November 2023, the Brisbane City Council posted an updated Master Plan for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic Infrastructure – footage courtesy of @AustralianOlympicTeam.

In June, Wood Central revealed that the authority will look to mass timber as one of its preferred construction materials for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Athlete Villages – with organisers looking to Paris 2024, Milan 2026 and LA 2028 for examples of timber-rich solutions.

Already, a panel of international architects is pushing for organisers to look at “daring” timber-led designs as part of the $2.7 Billion redevelopment of the Gabba Stadium.

The alliance includes HKS, Buchan and Nikken Sekkei, reminding the Queensland Government of the “once in a generation” opportunity to deliver an instantly recognisable and “distinctly Australian” main stadium.

In August, HKS Director Andrew Colling said the revamped Gabba could feature a timber shell with blended greenery and sandstone instead of a cookie-cutter concrete stadium.

Mr Colling said the stadium could incorporate a parkland observation deck on its roof and a cocoon of timber and sandstone to “create something that’s not only distinctly South East Queensland but distinctly Australian.”

“Timber will play a big role, and we’ll be celebrating the fact we love to be on timber verandas.”

“I’d go as far as to say there’s no reason we couldn’t turn the roof into a park with an observation deck looking back to the city.”


  • Jason Ross

    Jason Ross, publisher, is a 15-year professional in building and construction, connecting with more than 400 specifiers. A Gottstein Fellowship recipient, he is passionate about growing the market for wood-based information. Jason is Wood Central's in-house emcee and is available for corporate host and MC services.


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