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Speech on the Commonwealth Games

May 01, 2018

Ms SCANLON (Gaven—ALP) (2.51 pm): I rise today to talk about the incredible success of the 2018 Commonwealth Games that were held in my home town just over two weeks ago. Our Aussie athletes certainly did us proud, taking home 60 gold medals, 59 silver medals and 59 bronze medals. The passion and excitement of Australian and Commonwealth spectators was in full force, with more than 1.2 million tickets sold and a total of 1.5 billion viewers tuning in from across the globe.

For me it was the people behind these numbers that made the Commonwealth Games truly special. These games would not have been possible without the dedication, professionalism and enthusiasm of our volunteers who were so appropriately named 'Games Shapers'. At every event I went to I was greeted by friendly smiling faces, many of whom had travelled far and wide to be a part of the action. I take this opportunity to thank every one of those volunteers, our emergency service workers and all of those who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to contribute to the success of this world-class event. We truly could not have done it without them.

I also take this opportunity to thank the Yugambeh language group for allowing the Commonwealth Games to be held on their land. This was of course the first time that a major international sporting event had a reconciliation action plan which delivered a games that recognised, respected and celebrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and has provided a lasting and meaningful legacy through employment and training, procurement, showcasing arts and cultures, building a culturally capable workforce and providing authentic cultural experiences.

For me the proudest moment was seeing packed stadiums cheer on our para-athletes. In the words of the legendary Kurt Fearnley—

We are too often marginalised by invisibility. These Games have helped remove that cloak. I hope future Games build from this platform.

Leaving a more inclusive footprint with the largest ever integrated para-sport program in a major sporting event is no doubt a legacy of the Commonwealth Games and one that I, too, hope continues.

There are many legacy outcomes from the games that locals will benefit from in years to come. We delivered almost $1 billion in transport infrastructure across the Gold Coast which saw seven million trips across the games network, with 5.3 million of these trips made on public transport. Because of the games, we have the second stage of the Gold Coast Light Rail which was delivered in record time and on budget. We have the duplication of the heavy rail line between the Coomera and Helensvale stations and $160 million worth of Commonwealth Games road network upgrades. We said work would begin after the Commonwealth Games on the widening of the M1 from Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes and the Gateway merge and that is exactly what we are doing, with heavy construction happening now. We are also getting on with the job when it comes to the business case for stage 3A of the Gold Coast Light Rail. The Gold Coast truly is a hub of energy at the moment and it is great to see so much happening in my home town.

The health and knowledge precinct is also no doubt a major legacy investment, representing a future brimming with optimism and opportunity when it comes to driving jobs and the economy on the Gold Coast. This precinct represents a jobs bonanza for Queenslanders, supporting a whopping 26,000 full-time jobs once fully developed and occupied. Only yesterday I had the great privilege of joining the Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Kate Jones, at Metricon Stadium—a stadium that was built by both a state and federal Labor government—to announce that Carrara will now have its own drop-in pitch and for the first time ever host international cricket, with Australia set to play its fierce rival South Africa in a Twenty20 International match in November.

Aside from the fact that we all enjoy these fantastic events, we know that for every dollar we spend on major events we generate 10 times that for our local economy. Getting a T20 match leaves the door open for more opportunities. We know that there is a desire for the Big Bash to come to the Gold Coast. That is certainly on the cards and something that I would personally like to see.

I was also particularly pleased to attend the Nerang mountain biking in my electorate which was well supported by a sold-out crowd of 2,281 ticked spectators within the venue precinct. This number did not include the large number of spectators who watched the event from the non-ticketed areas. Having walked along the track, I overheard many visitors talk about their next visit to the Nerang National Park and remark on some of our fantastic small businesses like Cadence Cafe, who literally had to turn people away at the end of the day because they were so busy.

Alongside the Commonwealth Games, the Trade 2018 program brought business leaders from across the world to foster new partnerships which will benefit our regional economy. The Commonwealth Games has put my home town on the map for being a world-class key tourism hub. I will make sure that we continue to deliver for our city in the future.

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