PLAYING host to a major sporting event is often regarded as a guaranteed way to lose money, but the 'face' of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games says he believes the event has the potential to deliver up to one billion dollars in economic benefits to the region.
Peter Beattie, the chairman of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (GOLDOC), says Australia's biggest sporting event since the 2000 Sydney Olympics is "on budget and on time" and is set to become a financial success.
"The total cost of the games will be two billion dollars, and we will obviously get income probably around 1.5 billion and we've thought through where the economic benefit will be, and it should be in excess of that, so it will be two billion dollars or possibly even up to three billion dollars," Beattie said at the Games Volunteer Selection Centre at Burleigh Heads.
The South African city of Durban, which won the right to stage the 2022 Commonwealth Games, was stripped of its hosting rights in March after a trail of missed deadlines and financial problems which highlights the burdens often faced by host cities of major events.
Beattie, Queensland Premier from 1998 to 2007, says the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games has a targeted strategy to produce a successful event which also will result in a financial windfall for small and medium businesses and the community as a whole.
"Around 70 per cent of the GOLDOC contracts have gone to local Gold Coast businesses, and 84 per cent have gone to Queensland companies and that doesn't include the work that's being done on the venues and that's all local."
"And in addition to that you've had extensions to the light rail, roadworks, with state and federal government money and local council and holistically one of the big legacies out of all of this is a better transport system for the Gold Coast.
"With this infrastructure, the financial return may not be immediate but there's a big community benefit and community return and local businesses do well as they have a better transport system.
"If you have a look at what the Gold Coast transport system was like in the past, there was an over reliance on cars simply because the public transport system wasn't that good.
"Now you've got the light rail, now we're increasing the heavy rail from Brisbane to the Gold Coast along with road improvements, the terrible M1 is finally being upgraded.
"So you can see huge benefits in all of those projects. It will be good for the economy and it will be good for business."
However, that doesn't automatically mean that making money before, during and after the Commonwealth Games will be a "slam dunk", says Beattie who also worked as Queensland Trade Commissioner to North and South America after his near-decade long tenure as Premier.
So, what does business need to do to capitalise on an event that will be watched by 1.5 billion people from around the world?
"Two things - firstly they need to make sure they are aware of any transport plans that may inconvenience them. We don't want businesses to leave during the games," Beattie says.
"That happened during London Olympics. We want people to stay here. We want restaurants open. We want cabs driving, we want everybody benefiting, we want shops to benefit.
"Secondly have a look at their business itself and see if they can perhaps change some of their delivery hours. If you're a business in one of the hotspots think about getting deliveries in after hours and think about staying open longer.
"And most importantly, look at how you're going to take advantage of it. There is going to be one and a half billion people looking at this event from around the world.
"Think about how you are going to promote yourself, and there is going to be 1.2 million tickets which means a whole lot of people coming. How do you position your business to take advantage of that?"
"And that's why I've called for 24-hour trading and I would hope there is bipartisan support for that and I would love every shop to be open as long as they possibly can and make as many dollars as they possible can.
"And the final thing is, think strategically. You've got to be careful you don't gouge people because what we want is repeat business."
And as for "life after the games", there Beattie says there are plans in place already to transition the Gold Coast from its image as being a "one trick pony" with travel and tourism as the major industry.
"If you look at jobs on the Gold Coast, you look at areas like health and education and these are growing rapidly. The village and the parkland around it, after the games will be a health and knowledge precinct," Beattie says.
"What we need to do is work with our universities and we need to look at training and skilling the workforce and encourage companies that are coming here as part of the games to think about locating here and investing here because we have trade ministers coming here and we have commonwealth govt associations coming here, we'll have inbound trade delegations.
"Trade and investment Queensland is doing this and it's not just export education it's bringing trade and business opportunities in from the Commonwealth.
"So, I would urge business to get on the Trade and Investment website and talk to them and ask them 'how can I benefit?' how can I be a part of those inbound trade delegations."
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