G20 Summit – A worthwhile exercise or an unwanted nuisance?

Posted Friday, November 07, 2014 Comments (0)

In less than a week, thousands of delegates from around the world will be gathering right on our doorstep for the G20 Summit, the 9th annual meeting of the G20 heads of government. Brisbane, for the first time in its history, is being heralded as the ‘new world city’ as it is paraded on the global stage. 

As the event draws closer the debate continues to rage. Hosting the G20 summit – blessing or burden? It’s the question that many Brisbanians, myself included, have been asking ever since Brisbane was selected over its more illustrious big brother (Sydney) to host the summit. 

Studies from previous G20 and G8 conferences show clear economic benefits to hosting the event. These benefits were estimated at $135 million USD and $100 million USD for Pittsburg (2009) & Toronto (2010) respectively. Current predictions are suggesting a boost of $100 million to Brisbane’s economy. This benefit is largely borne in the short term by increases in tourism and accommodation and long term increases in infrastructure and investment.

What does it all mean for those in Brisbane’s inner-city and surrounding suburbs? Significant international media coverage should lead to an increase in international investor interest post-summit and is likely to enhance the city’s status as a property investment hotspot in the years to come. 

Whilst it is easy to look at the G20 summit as a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Brisbane to show itself off to the world, the event itself is likely to cost between $370-$400 million over four years and create numerous delays and hassles for local commuters and businesses over a one week period. 

Of greater worry is the potential violence caused by protestors during the summit, with over 25 registered protests already organised and many more set to take place. Large protests are nothing new to the G20 summit, with over 1000 arrested amid violent scenes in Toronto 2010. The Toronto protests were largely instigated by the Black bloc, a group of anarchist anti-capitalism protestors wearing black clothing, balaclavas, ski goggles and other face concealing items. Black Bloc protested at Melbourne’s 2006 G20 conference – look out for them again in Brisbane. 

Significantly, the authors of a recent study into the economic effects of hosting the G20 have noticed a clear trend in relation to the size and global visibility of host cities. Their results have shown a greater economic impact has fallen on cities that lack the global status of larger cities in that country. Whether this is the case for Brisbane remains to be seen. 

Perhaps a little short term pain is required for long term gain.

Reegan Piper is a Business Development Manager at Balmain Brisbane, specialising in sourcing commercial investment, construction and residential loans up to $3 million for property investors, developers and owners in South East Queensland. He is also taking the safe option of packing his bags and running as far away as possible for the G20 long weekend. 

Email Reegan: rpiper@balmain.com.au
LinkedIn: http://au.linkedin.com/pub/reegan-piper/8b/4b7/32a

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