Only another Queensland lockdown will stop the state’s premier from travelling to Japan to pitch for the Olympics as tens of thousands sign a petition demanding her trip be refused.
The premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk, said Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates had made it “very clear” it would be a “disaster if the head of Queensland did not go”.
“If we’re in a situation where we’re in a lockdown, I won’t be able to attend, but the delegation is the federal sports minister, the premier and the lord mayor,” she said on Tuesday.
The International Olympic Committee has already selected Brisbane as the “preferred candidate city” to host the 2032 Games.
Palaszczuk said the trip to Tokyo would be exclusively to make the final pitch to secure the 2032 Games for the city before she returned for 14 days in hotel quarantine.
One of the strongest pillars of the state’s bid is the “enormous cooperation” between three levels of government, she said.
Her comments come after more than 29,000 people signed a petition calling for Palaszczuk to be denied the right to leave Australia.
The change.org petition says the Queensland premier has “successfully advocated for a brutal and heartless halving of Australian quarantine spaces”.
“Annastacia Palaszczuk should not be allowed to steal a precious hotel quarantine space for a more deserving stranded Australian trying to return home,” it says.
National cabinet agreed last week to cut overseas arrivals Australia-wide in response to growing concern over hotels’ ability to contain the Delta variant of Covid-19.
The home affairs minister, Karen Andrews, said the commonwealth would support Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic Games bid, including “facilitating exemptions for travel on official Olympic business”.
The minister does not play a role in considering exemption requests, with those decisions made by the Australian Border Force commissioner or his delegate.
Palaszczuk said she understood the views put forward in the petition, but called the 2032 Olympics “the biggest opportunity that Queensland’s ever seen”.
The state will learn if its Olympic bid has been successful in just over two weeks’ time.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have the 2032 Olympics here in Queensland, we’re never going to get that opportunity again, and I’d hate to see it fall at the final hurdle,” Palaszczuk said.