In the lead-up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games, all eyes are on the Gold Coast’s ability to step up to the world stage, but what happens to the city once the athletes and spectators go home?
Lily Nothling reports.
It’ll be the largest event Queensland has ever hosted and it comes with a 1.5 billion dollar pricetag.
The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will span just 11 days, but it’s hoped it’ll leave a legacy to last a lifetime.
Deciding to bid for the Games was a tough call, but the state government says it’s worth it.
Kate Jones, Minister for the Commonwealth Games: “The reason why this is happening is because it’s going to be a long term benefits, both in infrastructure – more than $320 million worth of infrastructure for the Commonwealth Games, as well as I said, the new public transport options that have only become available because of the Commonwealth Games. And in addition to that, of course the exposure that the Commonwealth Games gives to the city of the Gold Coast.”
The government’s Embracing 2018 Legacy Program promises the Games will deliver enduring jobs and economic growth.
It also intends to strengthen Queensland as a top tourist destination.
But not everyone is convinced the Games will be worth it in the long run.
Vox 1: “I’m a big fan of the sporting events, so yeah, I figure it is, and hopefully the economy gets a bit of a return by the investment as well with the travellers and everything coming overseas.”
Vox 2: “It depends how much tourism is generated by the games, so I mean it seems like a lot of money, but we might get it back in other ways.”
Vox 3: “I think there’s more pressing needs for the state in general, in terms of health or education or transportation. Those create long term jobs where two weeks won’t have that same sort of an impact.”
Experts say the government’s investment could bring positive change to the Gold Coast but only if they lay the right groundwork.
Dr Sheranne Fairley, UQ Business School: “With a lot of different events obviously the benefits don’t actually happen at the end of the day. But again it comes back to planning. So if the planning’s done properly to start with, then hopefully those benefits will actually accrue.”
The government sees the Games as a launching pad for the future with the potential to influence a generation.
One of the major aims of the Embracing 2018 Program is to increase participation in sport.
The London Olympics promised the same thing, but figures show that legacy goal was a failure.
Dr Sheranne Fairley, UQ Business School: “Usually we find out that sport participation doesn’t necessarily happen, maybe there’s a slight blip, but then it doesn’t actually continue on and lot of the time that’s because the clubs themselves are not engaged.”
As the clock ticks down to April 2018, organisers will be working hard to ensure their legacy goals aren’t just words on paper.
Lily Nothling, QUT News.