2 April 2015, Written by Antony Scholefield


COMMONWEALTH Games minister Kate Jones has declared construction "on time and on budget" ahead of the three-year countdown celebrations for the event on Easter Saturday.

Jones told an Early Risers breakfast that her focus was to ensure "lasting benefits" from the 2018 Games.

"We're seeing that in regards to the infrastructure that's already been delivered and is currently being delivered," she says.

"We've already seen the aquatic centre open. All of the projects, when it comes to construction, are on time and on budget."

April 4 will mark the three-year countdown to the Games and several events, including a community celebration at Kurrawa Park at Broadbeach, are set to acknowledge the milestone.

Last December, the Queensland Auditor-General urged organisers to revamp the budgeting procedure for the Games.

Jones recently met with Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate to address the issues identified in the Auditor-General's report, warning that the economic benefits of the Games were "at risk."

She announced that City of Gold Coast CEO Dale Dickson would join the board of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC).

"That will ensure we're working in partnership," she says.

"Not only has the state government committed $1.5 billion, the city of Gold Coast has committed $100 million.

"More importantly, if everyone on the Gold Coast is spending the next three years talking up the Games, telling everyone how amazing it is, then it will be a success."

The Games are predicted to generate economic value of $2 billion, plus 30,000 jobs.

According to GOLDOC, experts are already attributing the Gold Coat's strengthening property market to Games-related investment and optimism.

Kate Jones was Minister for the Environment and Resource Management when the Gold Coast secured the Games in 2010, but lost her Brisbane-based seat to incoming Premier Campbell Newman two years later.

She famously regained the seat in January's state election, making her only the second MP to oust a sitting Premier from their seat.

"I was actually around the Cabinet table when we made the decision to commit $1.5 billion dollars to secure the Games here, so it is wonderful to be part of delivering the Games for the next three years," she says.

"I've definitely had the highs and lows of politics and I think in some ways that gives you a bit of an insight into what it means for all the competitors out there.

"It was a big decision to go back into political life, but given the prized portfolios I have today - being part of the Commonwealth Games is so exciting."

Author: Antony Scholefield





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