UPDATE FROM THE GENERAL MANAGER
We head into the fourth quarter of 2022 with the World Health Organisation having called the finishing line on COVID, a jam-packed calendar of events and the excitement of our many patrons celebrating face to face events.
We have been buoyed by a strong start to the new Financial Year, exceeding all targets to date and tracking 12 months ahead of our original forecast return to pre-COVID levels.
The Centre is buzzing with activity, and although some challenges remain particularly in relation to a tight global labour market and shorter event lead times, we continue to deliver the best experience possible for our clients.
During these past few months we have received very positive feedback from many of our loyal clients and I would like to thank them for taking the time to share that feedback with us. I also wish to thank our amazing staff for their resilience and determination in delivering successful events during one of the Centre’s busiest periods ever.
The Queensland Government Convention & Exhibition Centre Economic Recovery Bid Support Program continues to play an important role in developing a robust pipeline of National Business Events for the State, with the Centre confirming 11 new Conventions for Brisbane to date as a result of the funding. I would like to remind clients that the fund is available for new bookings for events of 350 or more delegates through to end of June 2026.
While delivering on a demanding calendar of events, we continue our focus on innovation, inclusion and community. To this end, I am proud and humbled to announce that we have received endorsement of our ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) from Reconciliation Australia, the beginning of our journey of acknowledgement, continuous learning and collaboration with Australia’s First Nations people.
Another recent initiative at the Centre has been the creation of dedicated sensory zones for our Great Hall concerts, providing safe and calming environments for those with sensory issues, giving them the confidence to attend events knowing they have access to such spaces.
We are very excited to have received the first delivery of our long-awaited new staff uniforms, delayed because of COVID. The upside of the late delivery is that it has allowed us to tap into a new cutting-edge recycling process for textiles, with some outstanding results – which you will learn more about in this newsletter.
Lastly, I would like to congratulate and thank our wonderful BCEC Advocates, who include some of our most prominent scientists, researchers and medical pioneers. These proud Queenslanders are responsible for securing a number of important scientific conferences for Brisbane in recent months, including the world’s largest HIV Sciences Conference set to attract 6,000 delegates to our city and our State.
General Manager, BCEC
We are excited and humbled to begin our journey of reconciliation following the formal endorsement of the Centre’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) by Reconciliation Australia. We acknowledge there are ambitious goals in our journey, but we are committed to continuous learning, listening and collaborating with Australia’s First Nations people and deepening our understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
Walking with us on this important journey with her guidance and passionate support, has been our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisor, Aunty Bridget Garay. Aunty Bridget has also been spreading the word about the Centre’s Plaza Gallery, home to one of Australia’s most significant collections of Western Desert Art from the Papunya community, birthplace of the contemporary Aboriginal art movement. A number of First Nation’s led organisations have since taken advantage of the Plaza Gallery for their special events further strengthening our relationship with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
We are also excited to announce that we have commissioned a work of art by Jody Rallah, a Yuggera, Biri Gubba and Warangu emerging artist with connections to Brisbane and Bowen regions, for the RAP that will reflect the unique environmental and cultural heritage of the Kurilpa site on which the Centre stands. Jody is currently completing her Honours year as part of the Bachelor of Contemporary Australian First Nations Art (CAIA) program at the Queensland College of Art, the only degree program for First Nations visual artists in Australia.
One of the largest post-COVID conferences to date, the 2022 Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, welcomed more than 2,500 delegates to the Centre, along with a further 1,350 virtual attendees.
Carillon’s Ashley Gordon described the event as one of the most significant international conferences since the G20 World Leaders Summit in 2014, due to the large political and diplomatic delegations. The event was one of 39 conferences which took place at BCEC in the first quarter of the new Financial Year.
The event, an initiative of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and hosted by the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, saw delegates from 40 countries meet in Brisbane to progress coordination and cooperation and the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.
We were also excited to welcome the inaugural Advancing Earth Observation Forum (AEO22). Earth Observation (EO) is the gathering of information about Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems and has a meaningful impact on our everyday lives, from responding to bushfires and natural disasters to helping farmers manage their land. Participants included manufacturers, industry, government, defence, education and researchers from all around Australia and overseas.
The Forum Organising Committee was led by BCEC Advocate Stuart Phinn, Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Queensland. Having received excellent feedback from attendees, Professor Phinn called the inaugural and somewhat niche conference, a success, with the Centre’s Team playing a crucial role. “We could not have developed and delivered this event anywhere else but BCEC.”
A busy calendar of National Conventions held during the period reflect the good work of our National Convention Sales Team in securing business events for Brisbane. Included among those recently in house was the Royal Australian Chemical Institute (RACI) Congress 2022 with BCEC Advocate Professor Debra Bernhardt at the helm as Congress Chair, supported by an impressive list of local chemistry experts sitting on the Organising Committee and well-known Brisbane based PCO, Expert Events. The fully face-to-face congress ran for five and a half days and comprised of 1,148 attendees including 615 speakers, 21 exhibitors, 12 sponsors and 325 posters for viewing.
Health was a popular theme for National Conventions with nursing, midwifery, diabetes, rural health, general medicine, and trauma all on the agenda.
Celebrating the return of in-house events was Tessa Davis, paediatric emergency medicine consultant and co-founder of the paediatric organisation ‘Don’t Forget The Bubbles’ who, with the assistance of ICMS Australasia, organised the recent Brisbane Conference after a two year break due to COVID.
“I’d forgotten why the conference was such a special place. You can only get that feeling and buzz and meaningful connection at a real live event. Seeing our community in person was a beautiful thing,” said Tessa who encourages everyone to attend at least one conference this year.
Did you catch the first episode of BCEC’s new podcast series, BCEC’s Secret Brisbane? If not, you can listen to it here.
In helping to bring national and international conferences and events to Brisbane, BCEC has the privilege of working and collaborating across many industries, all levels of government, together with leading scientists and technologists and our destination partners.
We see a side of Brisbane that many are not aware is humming away in the background, with people creating extraordinary outcomes for Australia and the world, a bit like the ‘unseen’ side of cities.
Our first episode is called COVID’s Cancelled Isn’t It? with Professor Paul Young, a world leading virologist at the University of Queensland. You can find this and future episodes on Spotify and Apple podcasts.
The recent creation of special sensory zones for our Great Hall concerts has made the Centre more inclusive for people with sensory sensitivities.
Developed in consultation with the national autism research organisation Autism CRC, the multi-sensory and low sensory zones provide safe and calming spaces for those on the autism spectrum or who suffer anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress.
The Centre has created a multi-sensory zone and a low-sensory zone to cater for individual sensory requirements. These sensory zones are designed to be portable so they can be easily set up in different spaces across the venue.
Dr Olivia Gatfield, Executive Officer of Autism CRC’s Sylvia Rodger Academy, commended BCEC for establishing the zones and making the Centre more inclusive of people on the autism spectrum.
“BCEC’s establishment of low and multi-sensory zones promotes the accessibility of events by providing dedicated spaces for those who are needing to lessen their sensory input, are experiencing sensory overload or those who may need a different alternative,” she commented
Our Box Office team has received positive feedback from those who have taken advantage of the space with one mother revealing her daughter was overcome with emotion when told of the choices she had with the sensory rooms.
August saw the Centre participate in Brisbane’s Open House Program for the very first time, offering a curated tour of some of the BCEC’s most significant Indigenous and contemporary works of art housed in the Centre’s Plaza Gallery and throughout the building.
Also generating great interest with visitors was a guided tour of our Back of House facilities which are rarely open to the public. The tour focussed on the Centre’s sustainability journey over many years culminating in being awarded EarthCheck Platinum certification joining an elite group of worldwide venues which operate at the highest international environmental standards.
The upside of the COVID-delayed delivery of the Centre’s new uniforms, was the opportunity to take advantage of world leading textile recycling technology, available right here in our home city of Brisbane.
Getting on board with BlockTexx, a local textile recycling company that turns textiles into reusable resources, meant that uniforms which previously may have ended up in landfill can now be recycled and reused.
The new technology turns cotton and linen into cellulose, captures and reuses polyester, and separates out wool and other man-made fibres for use in a range of applications.
We can report that to date, the Centre has recycled 4.13 tonnes of cotton, linen and polyester and 3.16 tonnes of wool and other man-made fibre since commencing with BlockTexx.
We welcomed our first Bollywood concerts Atif Aslam and Shreya Ghoshal which were a great success, as well as concerts from India, Iran, Pakistan and Vietnam.
We have also welcomed back some of our favourite exhibitions in recent months including The Brisbane Home Show, Care Expo, Oz Comic-Con, the Wedding Expo and thousands of new Australian citizens – 7,000 of them to be exact – at two Super Citizenship Ceremonies.
We look forward to a great line-up of entertainment events through to the end of the year with the return of Professor Brian Cox, David Gray’s 20th Anniversary White Ladder Tour and the world renowned, wildly popular 2CELLOS.
Following a sold-out season last year, everyone’s favourite romantic comedy, Love Actually in Concert, returns to the stage in time for Christmas.
Check out other events: What’s On