Brisbane Olympics 2032 a potential $17 billion boon to Australia

29 November 2021 3 min. read
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Brisbane’s successful bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games could deliver a massive spending (and societal) boon to the nation according to a preliminary report from Big Four professional services firm KPMG.

Accounting and consulting firm KPMG has calculated that the social and economic benefits of Brisbane’s successful bid to host the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games could be worth up to $17.6 billion to Australia over 20 years, along with creating more than 120,000 full-time job years. Roughly half of that figure refers to direct economic gains, while the remainder is accounted for in social benefits.

Commissioned by the Queensland Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, the analysis considers the potential benefits of hosting the Games across the ten years leading up to the event, during the event, and the ten years post-event. Yet, with an extremely tight timeframe to produce the report, KPMG is at pains to describe it as preliminary, with myriad caveats and a number of unquantified potential benefits.

Potential benefits of a 2032 Queensland Games

Nevertheless, of those quantified (in current monetary terms, as the timing of their realisation hasn’t been specified within the 20-year horizon of the study), a shade over $8 billion of the $17.6 billion total will be for the benefit of Queensland, including $4.6 billion in economic benefits stemming primarily from induced international tourism and trade. The Games also have the potential to fast-track and attract investment.

As for the quantifiable social benefits, KPMG considers three main dimensions; intangible resident benefits such as the community pride that comes with hosting the large-scale international event; the health benefits derived from increased sporting participation, which in turn increase productivity and lead to healthcare cost savings; and the benefits that come with volunteering, for the broader community and volunteer themselves.

There are also expected environmental benefits (unquantified in the report) which could help to offset the significant impact of such an event, such as upgrades to more energy efficient infrastructure that wouldn’t have as readily been invested in had Brisbane not won the Games.

Meanwhile, hosting the Paralympic Games and welcoming people from all over the world can enhance diversity and inclusion.

Following its preliminary analysis, KPMG believes that overall the economic and social benefits of hosting the Games will outweigh the disbenefits, such as operations and legacy infrastructure costs. Brisbane’s bidding team submitted a modest $5 billion budget to host the Games, to be mostly recouped in sponsorship and ticket sales, yet the event is notorious for its cost blowouts (Sydney’s 90 percent overrun was below average).

KPMG has also warned that there are a number of critical success factors that will need to be met to minimise the disbenefits and realise the Games’ full potential (fortunately, Queensland can leverage its experience of hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games). Among these factors are “effective cross-government collaboration, coordination and planning” – an attribute that is somewhat lacking at present in respect to Australia’s Covid-19 response.