Home' micenet eMag : micenet AUSTRALIA December 2014 January 2015 Contents centre it was open 24 hours a day, serving up a variety of hot and
cold dishes - pastas, salads, and sandwiches. Everything was free
except the alcohol.
Just outside the media centre there were coffee carts, one
sponsored by Tourism Australia, all of which were busy around the
clock. The Byron Bay Cookies were also a hit.
As an Aussie I was particularly amused at the pandemonium that
broke out when Dreamworld brought in a koala for a short period
each day. Obama could have been announcing he was leaving
office and I don’t think it would have mattered right then, with the
international media folk hell-bent on getting a selfie with our much-
loved icon. Tourism Queensland also brought along a surfboard
and a replica beach shack that were also popular photo props for
the visiting journos.
The whole event space was tastefully styled in green and orange
and blue and yellow, with everything custom-built, according to the
BCEC, by ExpoNet. It looked slick and worked effectively.
Plants scattered throughout were, as you would expect, native
Staff at the BCEC were friendly and helpful, as were the hundreds
of volunteers who were busy handing out water to some of the 6000
police patrolling the city. Despite the sweltering conditions the police
I spoke to as I arrived and departed the centre were extremely
friendly. (One story I heard was that after a full day of protesting by
the group of angels about coal, the police suggested they should go
home or go to the pub and they would give them a lift to either. The
angels reportedly took them up on the offer).
No go zones
At most times media representatives only had access to the media
centre. Beyond that, about halfway down the original building of
the BCEC, there was a checkpoint that could only be accessed by
staff, security and the G20 leaders and their entourage. If media
wanted to attend press conferences they had to apply, and were
then escorted down to the room in a group.
Explains convention centre general manager, Bob O’Keeffe,
every square inch of the centre was utilised for something.
In the exhibition halls beyond the media centre were custom-
made offices for each of the leaders and their senior personnel and
then other rooms – constructed from scratch – where bilateral and
trilateral meetings were held for between 10 and 30 delegates each.
Beyond these were the meeting rooms and the plenary space for
the leaders, the area where the “family photo” was taken, the
Welcome to Country, casual dining areas, and spaces for smaller,
more informal gatherings. And in each and every one were high-
end technological requirements.
Leading up to the G20 Mr O’Keeffe and his team had 186
meetings with delegations who travelled from everywhere to view
and review the centre and their slice of it during their stay. Naturally, a
major consideration was on security. The purpose-built offices on the
exhibition floor, for example, had to be completely sound proofed.
During the two-day event there were plenty of last-minute
changes and requests that all had to be managed quickly and
effectively. On the Saturday, for example, security personnel
announced with literally minutes before departure that the leaders’
exit point from the centre was changing. Centre staff quickly
ensured that that happened.
Beyond the G20, Mr O’Keeffe sees a long-term legacy for the
centre and Brisbane.
“We always looked at this on a couple of levels. For the centre
and the staff it has been very good. It’s left a legacy for us of more
confidence in what we do, or continued confidence in the staff and
ability of the building and the group working here to provide the
best possible event,” he said.
“I have had nothing but praise for our staff – from the AV to the
food and everything in-between. It’s been extremely satisfying.
“I think the interest and knowledge of Brisbane and the centre
has gone far beyond what I thought it would. The US President
deciding to do an individual speech at the University of Queensland
where he talked about the future with a focus on science and the
Asia Pacific was incredible. A large number of our Convention
Advocates are from UQ [University of Queensland]. Again it’s
another linkage to us.
“I think there are very good opportunities for us moving forward.
We have already had one international conference confirmed
because we were hosting the G20 and we are talking to many
others who wanted to see how this event unfolded.” m
Next edition micenet AUSTRALIA will examine other elements of the
event and the reaction from the Brisbane business event community on
what the G20 will mean for the city.
Around 6000 police
were at the G20.
Brisbane lord mayor, Graham
Quirk, is interviewed.
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