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Families link arms to save East Brisbane State School from $2.5b Gabba Olympics disaster

Students, families and community members will rally at East Brisbane State School this morning to fight for the future of their school, under threat from plans to demolish and rebuild the Gabba stadium for the Olympics. 

Supporters will link arms around the school before the bell this morning to tell Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Federal Minister for Infrastructure Catherine King not to demolish their school for the sake of a two week sporting event.

The rally occurs at the same time as the Federal Greens investigate the possibility of blocking any Federal funding for The Gabba Stadium project in the senate, via a disallowance motion.  

The plan, which would also see the destruction of nearby Raymond Park in Kangaroo Point for a warm-up track, is opposed by elected representatives for the area at all three levels of government, as well as a growing community campaign.

Prior to the election, the federal and state governments were 50-50 funding partners in the project, but since the election this agreement has been left up in the air.

Originally estimated at $1 billion in cost, Government sources now say the cost could be as high as $2.5 billion, even before factoring in the cost of relocating the school. 

Max Chandler-Mather, Federal Member for Griffith, said:

“If Minister King decides to support the project, the Greens will use the balance of power in the Senate to try and block the Gabba funding, potentially via a disallowance motion. We will do everything we can to protect East Brisbane State School and Raymond Park from this disastrous plan” 

“The Federal Government should be investing $2.5 billion in affordable housing, health and education, not in a plan that will see the destruction of a local school and park all for an extra 8000 seats and a two week sporting event.”

“Today’s demonstration sends a powerful message to the Federal Government, the only people that want to proceed with this stupid, destructive $2.5 billion Gabba plan are members of the State Government.” 

Amy MacMahon, State Member for South Brisbane, said:

“This community should be able to feel excited and hopeful about the Olympic Games, but we can’t if this government is going to go around bulldozing schools and parks.”

“Spending over $2.5 billion dollars to knock down a state school and stadium, just to build a big white elephant for a one-off event is a huge waste of public money”

“We’re calling on Minister King to not make the same mistake as Grace Grace, don’t be responsible for bulldozing a local school and a park.”

Cr Jonathan Sriranganathan, Councillor for The Gabba Ward, said:

“What kind of sick, twisted government would prioritise funding to demolish and rebuild sports stadiums ahead of housing homeless people and creating more domestic violence crisis accommodation?”

 “This must be the first time in Queensland history that elected representatives from all three levels of government are saying ‘no’ to massive spending on a sports stadium in their electorate – that should raise a big red flag for the relevant ministers.”

“Any budget estimates for building a new stadium while forcing out a public primary school also needs to factor in significant additional costs arising from delays due to ongoing disruptive protests during construction.”

Haline Ly, President of East Brisbane State School P&C, said:

“The Queensland government is planning to demolish the Gabba at the end of 2025, and our school cannot survive if this happens.

“We are here to show the government that we don’t want our school demolished for the Olympics.

“The Olympics was announced 18 months ago, and we have been told nothing. We have no idea if our school will still be here in two years time.

“There are 315 students at East Brisbane State School with families getting ready to enrol their kids next year, and they don’t know where they’ll be learning, playing and meeting their friends in two years time.

“We are asking the government to put education first. The $2.4 billion for the Gabba rebuild should be going towards building new schools, not tearing them down.

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