altMay 6 - Mark Stockwell has been sacked as the chairman of the Gold Coast 2018 Organising Committee despite being the driving force behind the city's successful bid for the Commonwealth Games.

The new Liberal National Party (LNP) State Government, who won the election six weeks ago, confirmed the new Board would not include Stockwell, a former swimmer who won three medals at the 1984 Los Angeles, two silver and a bronze.

The 48-year-old Stockwell is now a successful property developer but he has reportedly clashed with the new Government over where to build the Athletes' Village for the Games.

He wanted to locate it Parklands, an area of the city that includes pavilions, showgrounds and function areas.

But there was opposition to the plan from the Gold Coast Harness Racing Club, the Gold Coast Show Society and Big Day Out organisers, who wanted the Village relocated.

New Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey now appears to have backed their concerns.

Announcing that Stockwell will be replaced she said it was time to "transition to a Board that has the confidence of the Government, the [Australia] Commonwealth Games Association, and the public".

Stuckey added: "To ensure that these Games are delivered on time, and importantly on budget, the LNP Newman Government needs to put in place a Board that will quickly get on with the major infrastructure planning and delivery of this billion-dollar event.

"What is needed now for the Gold Coast Games are well-credentialed people who have qualifications in law, finance, development, and the commercial sector along with prominent sporting people who can make a significant contribution in the building and operations of the Games.

"The composition of Commonwealth Games Board is crucial and the Government is working hard to strike the right balance."

altThere are widespread suspicions that Stockwell has been sacked because he was appointed by Labour's former Queensland Premier Anna Bligh (pictured in red with Stockwell), who has now been replaced by Campbell Newman.

The decision will alarm senior executives at the Commonwealth Games Federation and the new set-up will now be top of the agenda when President Prince Tunku Imran and chief executive Mike Hooper visit the Gold Coast next month for a progress update.

It means that none of the key members of the team that delivered the Gold Coast 2018 bid are involved in organising the Games with the city's Mayor Ron Clarke having stepped down to be replaced last month by Tom Tate, a local millionaire businessman

Stockwell refused to hit out at the decision to replace him.

"I respect people can change their views," he told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

"We have taken the Gold Coast around the world," he said.

"I am grateful to have had that opportunity.

"I am standing by to help in any way I can from here.

"This event can change people's lives and it can change cities."



By Duncan Mackay