As ‘Brisbane the beautiful’ readies itself for the 2014 G20 Leaders’ Summit in November, it’s time to assess just how big an impact the event will have on the city.

In little over six months, the world’s leaders and prominent decision-makers will descend upon Brisbane for one of the most prestigious global meetings, catapulting the Queensland capital into the spotlight and potentially creating an enduring legacy for the city.

The Group of Twenty (G20) Leader’s Summit is a forum that assembles finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 major economies (19 countries plus the European Union), with attendees including heads of state and government such as US President, Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister, David Cameron.

Created as a response both to the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and a growing recognition that key emerging countries were not adequately included in global economic governance, the summit studies, reviews, and promotes high-level discussion around the global economy, financial regulation, poverty reduction and sustainable development.

Since the November 2011 Cannes G20 , the meeting has been held annually, with Russia hosting the eighth summit in September 2013 and Turkey set to host the 10th summit in 2015.
At a G20 briefing seminar held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in December last year, Brisbane Lord Mayor, councillor Graham Quirk discussed the pros and cons of hosting the global event in Brisbane and what it means for the city’s future.

“This is a once-in-a-generation chance for Brisbane to step up and take its place among the emerging new world cities of the 21st century,” Cr Quirk said.

“The G20 will be the biggest gathering of world leaders in Brisbane in our lifetime and for three days Brisbane will be the capital of the world.

“Everyone in Brisbane should be proud to host such an event and by the time the G20 is over I want the world to know that Brisbane is a rising star in the Asia Pacific and a key economic development hub.”

The G20 Summit is expected to pump more than $100 million into the local economy, attracting up to 4000 delegates and 3000 media representatives, as well as world leaders, top advisors and CEOs who represent around 85 per cent of global GDP, more than 75 per cent of global trade and two-thirds of the world’s population – all of whom are set to invest, trade and move Brisbane into the future.

“I have charged the city’s economic development board, Brisbane Marketing, to leverage the G20 through high-profile activities, thought-leadership forums, local and international campaigns and media activities,” Cr Quirk said.

As well as supporting local infrastructure and hotel investment (Four Points by Sheraton opens in the city in March and the iconic Chifley, which has undergone an extensive refurbishment, will reopen in June as the new generation NEXT Hotel), the Lord Mayor has also granted $500,000 of special funding to Brisbane Marketing’s core activities surrounding the summit.

These include an extension of the Choose Brisbane advertising program through Asia and Europe; establishing the ‘Brisbane Global Café’ – a global virtual media centre that will bring together thought leaders from a range of disciplines and provide a platform for a series of events and conferences in the months leading up to the G20; carrying out training programs for the city’s service and transport industry staff; and launching a series of ‘way-finding’ initiatives to help visitors easily find their way around the city.

The breakfast seminar, hosted by Brisbane Marketing, Brisbane Development Association and Business South Bank, welcomed more than 400 local decision-makers across the corporate community and academia.

The comprehensive discussion panel included University of Toronto professor and co-director of the G20 Research Group, John Kirton; UBS senior adviser and B20 Sherpa, Robert Milliner; director general of the Queensland Premier and Cabinet, Jon Grayson; and Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO and managing director, Julieanne Alroe.

Sparking discussion, Professor Kirton warned that Brisbane must leverage its status as the G20 host city in the coming months in order to ensure a lasting legacy.
“We need to broaden the story from ‘Brisbane the beautiful’ to ‘Brisbane the best in the world’ in order to create a physical lasting memory that will encourage the G20 community to come back well after the meeting has ended.”

City identification will therefore play a major part in Brisbane Marketing’s international campaign and as of March 2013, 3000 billboards have been put up around the world announcing Brisbane as the new world city.

At the event Cr Quirk also announced a call for support from the corporate community to assist in the efforts of local, state and federal governments to help place Brisbane on the map.
“As a city we’re not very well known, so we all have a job to do.”

– Lauren Arena