Games plan in spot­light

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - SUZANNE SIMONOT

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’.”

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