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How will the Brisbane Olympics impact business?

Juliet Helmke
22 July 2021 2 minute readShare

With the announcement on Wednesday that Brisbane is set to host the 2032 Olympic Games came great anticipation of the economic benefits the two-week international event could provide on a state and federal level.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said securing the Games was a coup for the nation, and looked for a repeat performance of the economic advantages delivered by the 2000 Sydney Olympics. 

“We know the impact on Sydney more than two decades ago was transformative. We can now expect a repeat for Brisbane and communities across Queensland,” Mr Morrison said.

Ted O’Brien, who served Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s representative for the Queensland bid, echoed those sentiments on Thursday.

“Hosting the 2032 Olympics will not only inject billions into the economy, it will also create around 120,000 new jobs, including 90,000 jobs for Queenslanders,” Mr O’Brien said. 

And according to early forecasts drafted by KPMG, the Games are set to deliver an $8.1 billion economic benefit for Queensland and $17.6 billion for Australia.

While the infrastructure spend is being celebrated, so is the potential of global attention.

“In the coming years, investment in infrastructure will continue to ensure transport and venues are not just fit for the purpose of the Games but support future growth in the region, and remain shining examples of Australia’s success in staging some of the most important global events,” senator Richard Colbeck, the Minister for Sport, said.

But the real question on everyone’s lips is, how will the Games benefit the small to medium business community?

According to Dr Ross Booth, senior lecturer in the department of economics at Monash Business School, while the major economic benefits are expected to take place in construction and infrastructure, the extent to which these will flow more broadly to small business will depend on “the role of local suppliers in the supply chain and procurement processes”. 

Mr Booth said that many of the economic benefits during the Games were dependent on infrastructure allowing for congestion to be well managed, particularly given the spread of the event. 

“Once the event commences, the major benefits are in the flows associated with the tourism and visitor economy, clear benefits to relevant businesses in the accommodation and hospitality settings, and also potential benefits to providers of location and mobility services given spread of events across locations subject to infrastructure development being well managed to address congestion issues,” Mr Booth said.

But with the Games set to also extend beyond Brisbane and across locations in Southeast Queensland, including the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast regions, experts have warned of prior ill-informed incidents.

“We are assured the Gold Coast will be a major participant in the Olympics, so Games organisers need to learn from the mistakes of the Commonwealth Games planners who now admit they over-emphasised likely traffic congestion and visitor numbers for the 2018 Games,” Gold Coast-based lawyer Bruce Simmonds said. 

While a post-Commonwealth Games report from Griffith University estimated that the 2018 event had delivered an economic benefit to the Gold Coast of $1.804 billion, small businesses in the retail and hospitality sectors found the event itself fell short of promises.

According to Mr Simmonds, back in 2018, locals picked up and left town in preparation for an influx of temporary guests to the city. However, restaurants, cafés and nightclubs, expecting an uptick in customer activity, ramped up stock and staffing but found that while visitors were attending official events, they weren’t venturing out to hospitality venues. 

Mr Simmonds wants to make sure these lessons aren’t forgotten as planning for the 2032 Olympics gets underway.

How will the Brisbane Olympics impact business?
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Juliet Helmke

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