Gold Coast 2018 confident they can deliver Commonwealth Games on budget despite claims costs rising
Tuesday, 13 March 2012
March 13 - Australian officials have denied claims that the cost of building the Athletes' Village for the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast has dramatically increased, threatening to put the entire project over budget.
Brisbane's Courier-Mail newspaper reported today that Queensland Premier Anna Bligh was warned last November, days before the city won the right to host the event ahead of Sri Lankan city Hambantota, that the Village could cost much more than the planned $48.9 million (£32.8 million/€39.3 million).
According to a document obtained by the newspaper, Queensland's top official for coordinating public infrastructure has estimated the Village's final cost to taxpayers is more likely to range from $120 million (£80 million/€96 million) to $208 million (£139 million/€167 million).
Bligh's rivals had accused her of trying to hide the document to avoid embarrassment ahead of the State elections on March 24.
The Village forms an integral part of the greater redevelopment of the city's Parklands into a Health and Knowledge precinct.
But Queensland State Treasurer Andrew Fraser said the 1,338-unit Village would be delivered on budget, once the Government sells the apartments as student accommodation after the Games, the newspaper said.
Fraser claimed that the Coordinator-General's estimate was based around a strategy of releasing all units at once after the Games, but the Government had taken the decision not to do that and instead sell them in staged sections.
"We make no apologies for directing the Games team to stick to its budget," a spokeswoman for Fraser said in a statement.
"The estimate for the net cost of the Commonwealth Games Athletes' Village is $48 million (sic) as is published in the bid book."
Mark Stockwell, the chairman of Gold Coast 2018, insisted that he was confident he could deliver the Games within its original budget of $1.1 billion (£737 million/€884 million).
"Other people can have a view about those budgets but at the end of the day the Organising Committee has got a responsibility to deliver within the budget that we put forward to government and that's what I intend to do,'' he told the Courier-Mail.
"Our ambition is to have as little of this as possible on the state's balance sheet."
December 2011: Bligh under pressure over cost of 2018 Commonwealth Games