As the official venue of the G20 Leaders Summit, the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC) is busier than ever preparing for what is anticipated to be the biggest event in the centre’s 19 year history.
Both the Merivale street and Grey street convention facilities (with a total of 44 meeting rooms) will be utilised for the summit, along with all four of the venue’s exhibition halls.
More than 4000 delegates, including world leaders, business, financial and political advisors, and representatives from the United Nations, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organisation are expected at the venue, along with 3000 members of the national and international media.
But despite the high profile nature of the G20, BCEC general manager, Bob O’Keefe, says it’s business as usual.
“We are preparing for this event just like we would any major international event and are well advanced in our planning. We’ve already hosted some 40 site inspections – many with guests from participating countries,” he said.
“Protocol surrounding the summit we will be guided by the G20 Task Force and both the Australian and Queensland Governments, but we are used to protocol, as there are protocol issues with many of our events, particularly those of a government and political nature.”
When it comes to large-scale events, the centre has an impressive track record, having previously hosted the 94th Annual Rotary International Convention with 15,000 delegates, the 34th International Geological Congress (IGC) of 6000 delegates, and lunch for Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2011.
Nevertheless, extra security measures have been put in place and, in an effort to avoid the failures of past events, negotiations between police and international protest groups are well underway.
There are no plans to close parts of South Bank, and nearby businesses such as the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA) and the ABC will remain open, however disruptions are expected during the November 15 and 16 event. The Queensland Police will be coordinating the security of the entire precinct and venue, while the BCEC’s own security team will be used as support for venue security.
Mr O’Keeffe said Brisbane business and tourism leaders have been very active in their planning to capitalise on the event to ensure economic and reputational benefits for the city.
“Brisbane and the centre will become globally recognised as a result of hosting the G20 and there will be significant tourism, trade and investment opportunities to come from this event,” he said.