Queensland’s former Campbell Newman Liberal National Party government sought advice on scrapping the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, documents released by Labor show.
Commonwealth Games Minister Kate Jones tabled the documents during a state budget estimates hearing on Wednesday.
Ms Jones said the advice provided to the LNP was that scrapping the Games would cost taxpayers $1 billion to cover breach of contract and costs already incurred.
“The damages that would be forced to be paid by the state, if the Commonwealth Games had been axed, would be in excess of $1 billion,” Ms Jones told the hearing in Brisbane.
“The advice that Mullins Lawyers provided at that time was that such an order would do immeasurable damage to the standing of the state of Queensland and the Gold Coast and the host city.”
The LNP’s Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington and Jann Stuckey, who was the Games minister in the Newman government, both denied earlier this year that any legal advice was sought.
Opposition games spokesperson John-Paul Langbroek on Wednesday clarified the party had to come up with funding for the Games after the LNP took office in 2012.
“The LNP sought advice about all kinds of issues around this colossal Labor mess so Queensland taxpayers would not be stung,” Mr Langbroek said in a statement.
“The Commonwealth Games would never have happened without the LNP and that is the truth.”
Ms Jones on Wednesday told the hearing the Games had generated $4 billion for the local economy.
The hearing was also told retention payments of about $160,000 for two Games executives had been approved.
Commonwealth Games Department director-general Damien Walker confirmed five organising committee staff had retention payments in their contracts, which were conditional on achieving key targets such as ticket sale numbers and delivering the Games within budget.