Thursday, December 23, 2010

Random thoughts on an Expo for Australia

Australia has not hosted an Expo since Brisbane 88 and it has - in the modern BIE architecture - never hosted a Universal or International Garden Exposition.

Both these ideas have merits.

Sydney or Melbourne, Australia's largest and more established cities have been wanting to host an Expo again since the 1960s - following on from their 1800s experiences with 1879, 1880 and 1888.

Australia's next big anniversary will be 2020 - the 250th Anniversary of Captain Cook claiming Australia for King George III of Great Britain.

This seems an ideal time to capitalize on such an anniversary with an Expo - either Universal, International or Garden Expo (Universal being Registered/International being Recognized in BIE parlance).

The trick is can we get bipartisan support - and at the three levels of the Australian Government. Hopefully with such a big anniversary at stake our politicians can look beyond their 3-year terms and petty politicking to see the bigger picture.

Time is running out though, and already other cities like the San Francisco Bay Area and Thailand have more mature bids in place, and with strong leading support from their highest elected officials.

It's difficult to see through the trees for the jungle, but there are many competing priorities for Government expenditure these days, and unless we can whip up some of the excitement for 2020 soon, we may miss out on the chance all together.

Once a city has put in a bid for 2020, other Cities will have only 6 months to respond. And 2011 is when the bidding for 2020 will open.

Although I am sentimental for Brisbane hosting an Expo again, the Premier of Queensland's only concern with regards to mega-events seems to be securing the Gold Coast's 2018 Commonwealth Games bid. And that won't be decided until November 2011.

Can we afford to wait until then to put in a bid for 2020? It may be too late.

Sydney or Melbourne may have more funding for such an event without it already being tied up elsewhere, but I've received no feedback from either the Victirian or New South Wales Governments as to their interest in a 2020 Exposition.

The joker in the pack however, maybe the smaller scale International Garden Exposition, but can we host this in the same year as a Registered - or Universal Exposition?

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