It’s election time in Queensland and the promises are starting to come thick and fast. Last week the LNP was talking up a pop-up recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, which would tour around Queensland. This week both major parties have confirmed their support for the ambitious Brisbane Live entertainment precinct.
The $2 billion project will develop a state-of-the-art entertainment destination above the Roma Street train yards. The proposal from venue operator AEG Ogden includes a $450 million, 17,000-seat arena. Modelled on AEG’s own LA Live near downtown Los Angeles (which includes the 20,000 seat Staples Center), the project would aim to transform a relatively forgotten part of the city into an entertainment, lifestyle and sports hub, with Brisbane Live arena as the centrepiece.
“The Roma Street area has long suffered from tired, old infrastructure as well as being in a location in the city that is more functional and operative than beautiful,” Planning Minister Jackie Trad is quoted in the Courier Mail as saying.
Labor is packaging the precinct with the $5.4 billion Cross River Rail project. The LNP supports Brisbane Live but without committing funds to Cross River Rail. Either way it looks like the project will go ahead, although it seems neither of the major political parties will win a majority in the State Parliament and would have to rely on independents and minor parties (such as One Nation) to form government.
Brisbane doesn’t lack for quality live music venues. The Tivoli, The Triffid and The Zoo provide plenty of options for mid-tier touring artists. But Brisbane Live would likely bring big-ticket performances back into the city after years of locals schlepping it out to Boondall’s Brisbane Entertainment Centre.
The project has the support of the Brisbane City Council and was advanced under the Labor government's market-led-proposal scheme, which encourages private companies to pitch ideas for state-owned land rather than it going out to tender.
Harvey Lister, chairman of AEG Ogden said in the same Courier report that bipartisan support is good news for the Brisbane Live project: “It’s very encouraging that the Government appears to have recognised the potential for Brisbane Live to be an activator that could eventually see the whole Roma Street precinct become an exciting part of the state’s capital city.”
As it stands, under the Labor government the Brisbane Live proposal will be planned by the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority set up to develop the train tunnel and underground stations network.