Now with clear sight to the Brisbane Olympics 2032, inclusion and sustainability must absolutely be key themes in government, corporate and not-for-profit purpose policy, and development agendas. The visibility of this world stage event provides an enormous opportunity for Australia to create an Olympics event that celebrates not only the peak of athletic achievement, but at the same time showcases a socially inclusive culture, a cohesive community and economic development which prioritises sustainability.
If we consider just one aspect of inclusion, Queensland already has a good track record on cultural diversity. Queenslanders now speak more than 180 overseas languages, hold more than 110 religious beliefs, and come from more than 220 countries. The economic gains of an inclusive labour market for migrant communities are estimated to be worth $1.2billion nationally per year.
But we have to get smarter on utilising the strengths of migration – despite over 80,000 skilled migrants and refugees coming to live in Queensland over the last 10 years, almost half are not fully utilising their skills and experience. To reap the social and economic rewards of increased use of a migrant workforce in Queensland, government, industry, and the community at large must all play a role.
With the Games potentially generating more than 130,000 jobs, even more when considering tourism and related sectors – let’s get better at reducing costs and complexity related to Recognition of Prior Learning for migrants as just one strategy to benefit from untapped skills and meet our workforce needs over the next 10 years.
And what about sustainability? We know Australia won the competition over other countries by being more convincing on our approach to sustainability and we have correctly set the bar high to create a ‘climate positive’ Games. Sustainable mobility is a key consideration and a must for any modern city. We will also need to ‘re-use’ sporting facilities to lower our carbon footprint, expertly employ our solar technology and ensure the Olympic village will use sustainable water sources. The sustainability challenge is there for the organisers but of course this challenge also flows to thousands of businesses that will be associated with the Olympics planning and implementation.
Our future prosperity relies on not only what we develop in our industries, but how we develop – our social inclusion and environmental sustainability can be ‘supercharged’ with the opportunity of the 2032 Olympics. Let’s make sure we seize the day.