Below is a text transcript for the interview between Mornings host Alex Easton and Allan Keogh.
ALEX EASTON: The Olympics is coming to the Sunshine Coast. It’s not coming for ten years, but there’s a lot of work to do in that ten years. How we prepare our region for the influx of people, industry and infrastructure that’s coming with the Games is a big question. And someone who’s working on the answer is Coolum businessman Allan Keogh. He’s the latest appointment to the Business and Tourism Committee of the Sunshine Coast 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games Taskforce.
Good morning, Allan. Thanks so much for joining. Now, you’re one of twelve voluntary members on the subcommittee feeding into the greater Sunshine Coast 2032 Taskforce. What do you hope to have come out of this?
ALLAN KEOGH: Thanks, Alex. And thanks for having me on your show this morning. We’re looking to obviously grow the economy here on the Sunshine Coast. It’s the fourth largest regional economy in Australia and we would like to see it expand and grow before the Games, during the Games and naturally after the Games.
ALEX EASTON: Right. Your background, I gather, is basically like 40 years of strategic planning and leadership. Is that the kind of expertise that all twelve of you on this committee have?
ALLAN KEOGH: No, it’s a very diverse group, Alex. It’s really impressive, really, given that the caliber of the people are part of the team lead by Jenn Swaine, so they’re from all walks of life, all backgrounds, and there’s also a consultancy group of twenty one that’s supporting the committee as well.
ALEX EASTON: So then what’s the role of this subcommittee in terms of what it’s supposed to be doing for business?
ALLAN KEOGH: It’s maximising the opportunities, the business opportunities, of the Sunshine Coast to coordinate, to engage, to communicate, to connect businesses. There are 25,000 businesses that are sole traders on the Sunshine Coast and it’s important that we connect them and maximise the opportunities for them before, during and after the Games.
ALEX EASTON: So far, we know that we’re hosting four sporting events as part of the Olympics and we know part of the backbone of the Sunshine Coast economy is tourism.
So how large a part is the tourism sector playing into the planning?
ALLAN KEOGH: Enormous. I mean, there are another five committees. Working Infrastructure, Community and Volunteers, Arts, Culture, Environment, Sustainability and Sports and Recreation. So one of the challenges is to actually all of us to collaborate and work together. But obviously the synergetic effect of each of those elements working together is going to be a major boost for both business and tourism in the pre-Olympic period, but also the post-Olympic period as well.
ALEX EASTON: There are obviously very big opportunities for local businesses through the Games, which is something, and it’s great that we’ve got you and your colleagues who are able to help with that. But when we’re talking about the Games a lot at the moment, we’re talking about infrastructure and those kinds of issues that we need to address for it. Things like the housing crisis and jobs and skills and that kind of thing. Is that something that is falling within your remit or is it just completely outside of it?
ALLAN KEOGH: Well, I think the Sunshine Coast City Council is going to play a very large part of that and of course the state government as well. But the basic focus of our role is to act as facilitators, brokers, catalysts, enablers, to actually have people connect, to engage with one another, to collaborate, not compete, to produce the best outcome we can. But there’s no doubt you’re right, there will be some major infrastructure challenges that will present in the lead up to the Games and during it as well, of course.
ALEX EASTON: Allan Keogh, thank you so much for your time this morning. It’s been awesome having a chat with you.
ALLAN KEOGH: Alex, thanks very much. Cheers.
ALEX EASTON: Cheers. Allan Keogh is the latest appointment to the Business and Tourism Committee of the Sunshine Coast 2032Olympic and Paralympic Games Taskforce.
This radio interview was broadcast live on the ABC Sunshine Coast Mornings programme on Friday, 16 September 2022, and the full episode can be listened to on their website.
Banner image credit: Bailey Rytenskild on Unsplash