News

Is Queensland Ready for the Commonwealth Games?

Written by Ollie Law – Commercial Marketing Manager & Simon Petie – Senior Consultant, Queensland.

On November the 11th, 2011, Australia, and in particular the Gold Coast found its fifth bid to host the Commonwealth Games successful. Next year (2018), the Gold Coast is going to have an influx of electric-excitement and spectator-chaos around what we’re now officially calling the XXI Commonwealth Games. With the opening ceremony locked in for April 4th, 2018, emergency services, visitors, residents, councils, and organisations have ten months to prepare for what is no doubt going to be an Australian wash out event.

One of the key reasons the Gold Coast won its bid for the games was its planned venue situation having 80% of the required venues already built and ready. Transport as well boasted only 20-minute driving time to the Athletes village while public transport screams success for a city that has perfected its light rail system – which will connect a number of key venues together.

In 2015, England hosted what was called Rugby’s greatest ever World Cup event. South Korea have already spent billions on its readiness for the Winter Olympics next year while Russia does its magic for the Football world cup next year also. With what seems to already be a successful 2018 for sports, we could be in for an enjoyable and perhaps legendary event here in Queensland. The organisers are certainly aiming high for that.

I’ve spent the last six months preparing resource and content around how an event like this is going to affect local organisations, and how by using Business Continuity during the event, you will not only survive but thrive off of the stampede of sports about to hit your doorstep.

Getting your BCP in check now

Regardless of what area of business you’re in, your transport and supply chain is going to be affected during the events. The Gold Coast will see an influx of anywhere between 690,000 to 700,000 visitors during the games. With these increased demands on the transport systems, local, smaller businesses are going to be hugely affected. During the London Olympics 2012, small, inner-city businesses recorded a 65% increase in wait time for deliveries and supply chain access.

Your workforce planning and operations need to be looked at now in ways to minimise this disruption. Minimising impacts on business and supporting continuity is a key focus of the background transport task. Even if you’re an organisation that is not bound to a supply chain, you are still affected by smaller requirements like downtime during a blackout or any major, external support systems.

Your options around this are to seek alternative freight routes, talk early about the expected time delays and factor this into your daily objectives, workforce journey plans and how you can help get your team to work comfortably. As a business, you should be consulted early from your suppliers on how they’ll get around this. If not, you need to be making those calls now.

You should be planning your resilience around situations like this early, you have ten months!

Know the plans for GC2018

The local councils and Government will already have their plans written, signed off and printed for the games. Chances are, they didn’t send you a copy of these! Key routes in and out of the city will be disrupted and even closed. Freight operators would have already decided on new routes, public transport too. Now is the time for you to be finding all this information out, whether it be for your supply chain, or simply so your staff know how to be getting to work.

Freight movements will be restricted in venue precincts during competition hours. The freight industry and affected businesses and residents will be engaged by the GC2018 transport partners to ensure issues are identified and addressed, and to minimise disruption to freight operations. This will start happening as early as a month before the events.

Many strategies will be proposed to freight operators, business, and residents to support freight operations during GC2018. They include:

  • Where possible, limiting freight requirements during GC2018
  • Moving delivery times outside of competition times
  • Reducing the size of delivery vehicles entering venue precincts (meaning smaller loads)
  • Alternative freight routes and, where possible, avoiding use of the Core GRN and the Gold Coast Highway
  • Avoiding travel through key Gold Coast precincts such as Broadbeach, Surfers Paradise, and Southport during competition times.

Does this affect you? Does this affect your suppliers?

How we can learn from past impacts

From my perspective, these points already raised and shared with local Gold Coast businesses seem very light compared to the wider picture. Many more organisations will see an effect on their day to day running while the event is on.

We’ve seen businesses disrupted by events on this scale before in Australia, specifically during one of the largest Olympic games in history, “Games of the XXVII Olympiad”. The games of the Millennium hosted in Sydney in 2000 cost the country an estimated $6.6 billion but was regarded as “one of the most successful events on the world stage” and that “IOC should quite while it’s ahead…there can never be a better games”. With only six years of planning for what was a spectacular event, the country learnt some valuable lessons very early on.

With initial slow ticket sales and failure of meeting it’s initial budget, Sydney skyrocketed passed its budget by only year three of its planning. To compensate for this, small taxes started to rise. The media then got hold of this and potential shortcomings were being highlighted before the 1996 Atlanta (US) Games had even started.

There was also concern about potential problems during the Games. The public transport
system was one of these concerns, as were airport congestion, city traffic, security threats and the cost of running Olympic facilities after the Games. The international media’s reporting on Indigenous issues also caused authorities concern.

Despite all the negativity from the media, the staging of the Sydney Olympics was an unqualified success. The predicted trouble spots did not eventuate. Public transport was a problem, just before the Games, however during the Games, the entire system ran smoothly. In fact the whole of Sydney ran better than it usually did. This was partly due to the fact that schools closed for three weeks, many offices closed and staff took leave for the entire period. A party atmosphere reigned throughout Sydney, a party celebrated by visitors and locals alike.

Although CG2018 is unlikely to reach this scale, we can minimise the impacts and examples learnt from this event and mirror them to what we know today. Just like the 2000 Games, you should expect huge disruptions across all business areas. Business need to be thinking about revising their Business Impact Analysis prior to the CG2018 in order to understand their critical business functions and dependencies.

Let’s get everything in order

Establishing a robust BCM (Business Continuity Management) Strategy now is the best method for understanding possible disruptions. I’ve spent months already speaking with current clients and contacts around how understanding your critical business function and dependencies needs to be done now.

In these meetings, I continually point my opposite towards the CG2018 Organisation Committee, who, to their credit, have done a good job on relevant – up to date information. This is the sort of information you want to be keeping an eye on weekly. One of my clients has even appointed a junior to check up on this information weekly and bring to their WIP meetings if necessary. Small steps like this will allow businesses to plan and prepare for any disruption in the lead up to the games.

By visiting all these steps now, you’re allowing yourself ten months to comfortably get through the event. The Commonwealth Games 2018 are going to be running, cycling and jumping right outside of your front door, it’s important you are ready for this whether you like it or not. It’s important that you know how to thrive as an organisation during this time.

Over the next ten months, I will be using my time, resource, and experience to help multiple organisations plan and prepare through unique and specific BCP’s for the games. If you’d like to discuss how RiskLogic can help you as well, drop me a line today.

Call us on 1300 731 138, email info@risklogic.com.au, you can also find Simon in Brisbane:
Level 29, 1 Eagle Street
Brisbane QLD 4000