As a curtain raiser for G20, some non-political thinkers have come to Brisbane to share ideas for future innovation.

It’s all part of a conversation happening at the Global Cafe.

Georgia Terry reports.


The G20 isn’t only about political leaders, 75 of the world’s brightest minds have come to share their ideas for the future.

The Global Café forum at City Hall gathers influential thinkers into a conversation about the kind of world we want.

The two-day ideas-fest is a first for a G20 host city, with organisers taking advantage of Brisbane’s moment in the spotlight.

Graham Quirk, Lord Mayor: “This is an event where Brisbane has its opportunity to say that we want to be party of the conversation of addressing some of the global issues that confront us.”

The focus is centred around five key themes, improving human life, powering future economies, the digital age, tourism’s new frontiers, and cities of the future

Professor Frank Gannon, QIMR Berghofer: “It is important for Brisbane and all of us here that Brisbane is not just a location where the G20 leaders meet, but Brisbane is on the world’s map because it deserves to be as a wonderful place in its own right.”

Providing fuel for thought, local innovator Tritium has plans for an ‘electric super highway’ of charging stations in south east Queensland.

But much of the attention was on global co-operation and what Australia can do from its position of privilege.

Professor Christopher Leaver, Oxford University: “I think you’ve got to help the rest of the world, otherwise more and more people will want to come and live here because you’ve got the food and it’s cheap.”

Far from cheap, though, were the $350 tickets for the G20 curtain-raiser.

Graham Quirk, Lord Mayor: “People that have got the capacity to pay are paying, obviously there is a significant cost that comes to this sort of event.”

$400 million has been spent on the G20 on everything from security to accommodation and even the table the leaders sit at.

For some, it’s a small price to pay to be involved in Brisbane’s week as the world’s capital.

Regardless of the ticket price, the Global Cafe has been popular.

VOX POP 1: “I’m sure what the people get with their over $300 is money well spent.”

VOX POP 2: “I just thought it was a good opportunity to hear what the big voices around the world have to say about certain issues.”

The Global Cafe finishes tonight.