Games plan in spotlight
ONE of the state’s leading business organisations will host a “much anticipated” post-mortem into the controversial transport campaign conducted as part of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games.
The International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) Queensland branch has billed an October 25 event at the Paddington Tavern, in Brisbane, as “a warts ’n’ all summation of one of the biggest engagement exercises southeast Queensland has ever seen” – the rollout of the Commonwealth Games travel and transport plan.
The event will hear from a City of Gold Coast panel comprising transport and traffic manager Matthew Tilly, GC2018 travel advice for business engagement lead Nichole Green, and strategic communication and engagement adviser Dana Burrows.
The Gold Coast City Council was responsible for prepar- ing businesses and residents for the impacts of the Games through the Get Set for the Games travel advice for business program.
The program collaborated with more than 7000 key businesses across the Gold Coast to help them plan ahead for the Games, asking them to “rethink their travel’’ by planning ahead.
But it was full of controversy as residents left town and visitors stayed away from the Coast during the Games, fearful of gridlock. The program was heavily criticised as a “scare campaign” and blamed for driving them away.
GOLDOC chairman Peter Beattie was also heavily criticised when he told residents to “suck it up” in regard to preGames fears of transport chaos.
In a recent interview with the Bulletin, Mr Beattie said the GOLDOC transport plan worked, citing seven million trips taken during the Games, including 5.5 million on the public transport network, with all modes posting record passenger numbers.
Asked if he would advise the next host of a Games not to “over egg” messaging on transport concerns, he said: “You should make sure you haven’t got an M1 that is a dog of a road because people used commonsense, they’re not stupid.”
The IABC event notice says “those responsible for keeping the Gold Coast moving during Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games (GC2018)” will share “the pain, joys and legacies” of delivering the largest ever engagement exercise the Gold Coast has seen.
In a letter to members, the IABC board says: “Eleanor Roosevelt once said you’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t, and she’s been proven right many times since.
“In the case of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the message to stay off the roads and take public transport was so effective that transport leaders drew criticism for ‘scare tactics’.”