July 22, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

In what seemed like more or less a foregone conclusion last night, coordinated celebrations, complete with a television broadcast, took off in Brisbane as the city was announced as the host of the 2032 Olympic Games, by a vote of 72 to five.

There was footage of the Queensland Premier and entourage celebrating in Tokyo and of Prime Minister Scott Morrison pumping his fists in his office in Canberra.

If ever there was an advocacy opportunity for the events industry, this is it.

Because governments can’t have it both ways. They can’t celebrate the immense value – both financial and reputational – our industry will bring to Brisbane in 2032 and then dismiss our value when we need support while the industry is shut down by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

So this is the time to demonstrate our value.

To point out that many of those delivering the best business events – incentives, conferences, corporate events – cut their teeth in the lead-up to the the Sydney Olympics and further refined their talent on our last Games.

To point out that if Australia wants to deliver its best Games yet in 2032 – 4,019 days from now – we need to ensure we keep existing, experienced talent in the industry and be able to attract young people into the industry now.

Because in 2032, those considering the industry in the next year or two will be at the prime of their careers – mentored by today’s industry veterans – and best placed to deliver a globally significant event like the Olympic Games.

The Government has already done the maths on the economic and other benefits the Olympics will bring to Australia, now we need to show that all of that is underpinned by lessons learned, experience gained and investments made through the hundreds of thousands of smaller business, community and major events which should be deployed between now and then.

Now is the time to breed understanding of how the industry works – its vulnerabilities as well as its incredible potential to be so much more than the sum of its parts – so those who can help us mitigate risk and maximise return are primed, ready and willing to do so.

We know what we need right now – financial support during lockdowns which matches the business lost – and a government funded insurance underwriting scheme for the entire industry. Initiatives like removing fringe benefits tax from incentive programs also wouldn’t go astray.

This is probably the strongest moment we have – when the glow from the win has everyone brimming with positivity and when the immensity of event planning timelines are as front and centre as they’ll ever be.

Let’s use it.