Debate begins on what animal should be mascot for 2032 Brisbane Olympics

Debate begins on what animal should be mascot for 2032 Brisbane Olympics

Debate begins on what animal should be mascot for 2032 Brisbane Olympics

24 May, 2022

The Brisbane Olympics might be 10 years away, but debate is already firing up about what the mascot should be.

Cameron Costello, who sits on the Queensland Tourism Industry Council and the state's Koala Advisory Council, believed the koala was the clear front-runner.

Having recently been listed as endangered, he argued it needs the global attention that an Olympics can bring.

"We're at a really critical point in time," Mr Costello said.

"In 2032 and prior to that, the eyes of the world are going to be upon us.

"It's an opportunity for us to look at how we can use the momentum of the Olympics to actually get our endangered species back to the right place they should be."

But Queensland Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe offered up another possibility — the ibis.

"As the Member for Sandgate, I've got a quiet soft touch for the idea that the ibis might play a role," he said with a smile.

"And I know there's plenty of Queenslanders who think that might be appropriate as well."

The ibis is also sometimes, perhaps unkindly, called a "bin chicken", because of its scavenging.

Mr Hinchliffe said with more than 3,700 days until the Olympics opening ceremony in Brisbane, there was still plenty of time to make a decision.

"This is something we can work on as a community to help tell our story to the globe," he said.

"It will be an important decision when it is made by the organising committee."

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was "highly unlikely" the ibis would be the 2032 Games mascot, but said "we'll let the public decide".

Asked if she had any ideas herself, she replied "a few, but I'll keep [them] to myself at the moment," she said.

"I'm quite sure there'll be a lot of public debate but I don't know if the ibis is going to rate there as number one."

Olympic mascots were designed to promote the history and culture of the host city and help welcome athletes and visitors to the games.

In Sydney 2000, there was Syd the platypus, Olly the kookaburra and Millie the echidna.

There was also precedent for a koala, with Borobi created for the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

'We should be known as the koala capital of the world'

Quandamooka man Mr Costello said if a koala mascot was successful, he already had vision of what characteristics it should embody.

"A koala that is First Nations, a scientist and female, that has a 10-year journey we can all follow," he said.

"We should be known as the koala capital of the world and that's our opportunity that I hope we seize heading towards 2032."

It took 10 years for the koala to slip from a "vulnerable" listing to "endangered".

The next 10 years will be crucial to its survival.