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Looking to 2032 – The Olympics and its legacy

07 December, 2022

The world is buzzing with excitement from witnessing the achievements of athletes in the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England. Australia took home an impressive 178 medals, igniting more excitement back home as preparations for the 2032 Olympic Games hosted in Brisbane are well underway.

We sat down with Managing Director and Co-Founder of Struber, Julie Castle, to discuss how Brisbane can build on the innovation and successes of other major sporting events with sustainable infrastructure, business preparation strategies, and how to leave a bright and lasting legacy.

Brisbane is set to experience transformative change as businesses across different industries come together and partner in the delivery of this major sporting event. For Brisbane to realise its full potential to manage and run a successful event with a sustainable legacy, Castle believes that Brisbane should take note of Melbourne’s history of legacy-leaving events.

“They are (Melbourne) experienced with events like the Commonwealth Games and large major events, investments, and contracts, whether that be the Australian Open or the Grand Prix. I believe Victoria has done a really good job of making sure that they not only get the budget available and build the assets, but they think about what those assets will look like long after the games.”  

“The events are run over a limited number of days, they have to consider how these infrastructure changes will last for generations and understand how these areas and precincts can be utilised after the major event has passed,” she explained.

There’s no doubt that events like the games can interrupt the everyday lives of the community, however, Castle believes that the key to creating a lasting legacy is to make sure that all of Brisbane feel included.

“Consider those who can’t get to the Olympics. How can they still be part of the games?  Successfully running the event is thinking about the event outside the stadiums. These events also make long-lasting memories for people”.

“Think of people’s lives, and how they go about their day. Logistically, events like the Olympics change the way we travel, go about our day, and go to work. Aim to support the community in their day-to-day, how they get to central areas for their appointments or drop off the kids at school. Make the community aware!”, Castle explained.

Having lived in Brisbane herself since 2002, Castle has seen the city’s transformation firsthand. She believes that hosting the Olympics can only lead to more growth for the city, as well as allow local businesses to thrive.  

“We work nationally in all the major cities, and I think Brisbane has been a little bit left behind in some areas. Brisbane ‘32 is something they can really work towards. It will define who Brisbane is in the future and I'm excited for the city as a Queenslander”.

“I first moved to Brisbane in 2002 and I’ve seen so much positive transformation, but I think having the Olympics will give us the assets and the reason to enable all sorts of experiences”, she said.

For Struber, the key considerations that make up an event like the Olympics are not unfamiliar. We partnered with key authorities and contractors to support the successful ‘Get Set for The Games Travel Advice for Businesses’ during the 2016 Queensland Commonwealth Games to prepare over 8,500 businesses and stakeholders for the predicted challenges of the 700,000 officials, athletes, and visitors, allowing them to make the most of the opportunities from the tourism the event would bring.

Now, with Brisbane 2032 fast approaching, Castle knows the effects of these history-defining events are felt for many years after the closing ceremony. When asked how Struber’s history has prepared the business for the fast-paced games, Castle says that our capability is reflected in working on a range of billion-dollar infrastructure and a calendar of sporting events. This has allowed Struber to give both government and private sector clients the best results possible.

“When we launched, the Commonwealth Games was a very big project happening in Southeast Queensland. Within a few months of launching Struber, we worked on nine different projects across the games. Even though that was the Commonwealth Games, it's very relatable (to the Olympics) in terms of major events. Traffic management planning, business impact, management planning, visitation planning and working with all the different authorities”.

“The Commonwealth Games investment was about $2.5 billion by the government. We have gotten to a point now where we work on billion-dollar infrastructure projects many times a year, so we know what it takes,” she explained.

Experiences such as major events bring mass crowds of visitors, which can present challenges for businesses if not prepared. Reflecting on how Australian businesses can position themselves to benefit from the Olympics, Castle believes that brand positioning and preparation are key. Understanding your customer base and capitalising on the extra foot traffic can make all the difference.

“Understand the customers will be there and really think about the experience you want to create. Use that knowledge to create something unique so your brand is remembered and becomes a positive force in terms of how it is perceived, not only by your local community but the visiting communities,” she said.

And as for what she wants to see from the games? As a local, Castle is most excited about the changes to the infrastructure industry and the collaboration processes behind the event.

“What I'm most excited to see at the games is the build-up in the regions and the conversations that are going to enable transformative change. I'm also excited about the opportunity for the infrastructure industry, for governments, and for everyone to collaborate, to work together and deliver something legendary".

“For the event itself, the opening ceremony is always a part of the Olympics I really, really enjoy. Seeing all the countries turn up to participate, it’s such a huge moment and really kicks off the festivities with a bang and reminds us of the essence of the Olympics. The world coming together to watch the best of the best, getting inspired and witnessing what’s truly possible for all of us”, Castle said.

Leaving a bright legacy is a purpose close to Struber’s core. We look to further our impact by supporting Brisbane's legacy as we work with our clients to create connected communities and build sustainable infrastructure in the lead-up to the Olympics and beyond.

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