by Priscilla Radice, CEO, Infrastructure Association of Queensland Inc (IAQ)
The 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games are a once-in-a-century opportunity for Queensland and are strongly supported by the infrastructure industry.
The Infrastructure Association of Queensland Inc (IAQ) recognises the coordinated effort to achieve the successful bid and the tremendous effort ahead to deliver the best Games for athletes, spectators and respondents, while delivering on legacy.
South East Queensland has the longest delivery runway of any Games, but we cannot afford to be complacent and squander this time advantage.
Aside from the tremendous benefits that will flow from the event itself, the Games are the catalyst needed to activate planning and delivery of the critical infrastructure our growing state needs to stay connected and maintain equitable living in the 21st century and beyond.
Leadership, cohesion, ambition and a united vision will be key to success over the eleven-year journey, and industry involvement will help create a united delivery and legacy-focused team with a nonpartisan focus. The private sector will contribute to, and enable, more innovation and greater funding.
Planning for beyond the games
We need to be bold in our thinking with a focus on 2052, not just 2032! The Games can act as a significant springboard to deliver sustainable, affordable, and inclusive connectivity to all Queenslanders.
IAQ is advocating for the creation of ambitious targets beyond 2032 and mapping out how the Games will help deliver foundational infrastructure for the needs of all Queenslanders in areas like energy, water, mobility, digital, health and education.
The 2032 Games are not the end goal, they are a positive catalyst to galvanise action and bring people together to act collectively. Society can rally around this global sporting event – an extraordinary event that brings out the very best in people.
The Games is also a transformational catalyst for all three levels of government to collaborate on an agreed program and governance framework for ten years, hand in hand with the private sector.
Leaders acting collectively to genuinely collaborate and agree to a long term plan might be the greatest legacy of all. In turn, this transparency and agreed vision will build business confidence, attract significant new investment, boost economic productivity, enhance our global brand and bring more investors and visitors to the whole of Queensland.
Queensland has all the essential ingredients to lead the way into a new future globally, building a green sustainable economy that supports thriving communities.
The changes to the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) approach means we can plan and deliver long-term development needed for a growing South East Queensland, not just specifically for the Games.
Delivering for growth is a critical factor, and recent modelling by the Austrian Institute of Economic Research highlights it’s the investment in the infrastructure, especially connectivity infrastructure like transport and digital, that drives the biggest economic boost.
Collaboration with industry
IAQ supports a targeted dialogue and planning process which confirms infrastructure priorities that are aligned with the state’s long-term planning and allows us to think big and act fast.
By involving industry, we can embrace multiple contributions to deliver outstanding outcomes for all involved, working collectively to draw upon experience and find new ways to deliver the Games safer, faster, at a lower cost, more sustainably, and with liveability and legacy at its heart.
The challenges of sourcing the workers with the skills and capacity to deliver cannot be underestimated. Joined up strategic workforce planning focused on the health and wellbeing of workers needs to start now.
IAQ’s view is that legacy will be achieved if Queensland sets ambitious targets, and we hold ourselves to account for delivering on them, beyond the Games themselves.
For example, the Games gives us the ability to trigger the delivery of critical infrastructure ahead of population growth and shift the dial towards a clean and green economy such as:
♦ 45 minute SEQ – public and active transport infrastructure to enable quicker connectivity and improved liveability, including faster interregional passenger rail to integrate with the existing Cross River Rail and Brisbane Metro projects
♦ Whole-of-system energy and water grid planning that leverages technologies and is planned in conjunction with major changes and risks such as future of mobility shifts and climate change
♦ Appropriate, accessible and sustainable accommodation solutions, delivering innovative facilities and funding models which can help deliver affordable housing for every Queenslander
♦ Equitable and globally competitive access to telecommunications and data infrastructure, following on from recent critical work such as the Sunshine Coast International Broadband Submarine Cable
♦ Improved health outcomes with competition venues and programs as identified by government, which will support an active and healthy Queensland for many generations to come
♦ Sustainable placemaking and community activation opportunities
♦ Accelerating digital take up and designing a delivery model that supports a sustainable and diverse infrastructure industry to ensure we can deliver value for money outcomes
♦ Leveraging the long-term pipeline certainty to build skills and capacity, diversify the industry and attract new talent such as female participation and overseas skilled migrants
♦ Embedding Circular Economy principles
♦ Catalysing investment and innovation in the manufacturing sector
Working together is key to a successful outcome – we have a deadline, and the eyes of the world are watching. Let’s think big and go for Gold!