Brisbane to Host the Olympics in 2032: Some Thoughts for the Industry

To be published in the September 2021 edition of the Queensland Hotels Association’s QHA Review.

I am sure everyone is as excited as I am that the Olympic Games will make their way to Brisbane in 2032. By the time the games arrive, Mullins Lawyers will have been practising law in Brisbane for more than 50 years and, as a proudly Brisbane based firm, we are over the moon to see our beloved city front and centre on the world stage. I would like to extend our congratulations to the Queensland Government and the Australian Olympic Committee for their efforts in securing the games. It is nothing short of a monumental achievement.

The impact that securing the games will have on the pub industry is difficult to understate. In the short term, the announcement in itself is a huge feather in Brisbane’s cap, and draws attention to Brisbane. Since the outbreak of the COVID pandemic, we have seen a dramatic increase in people relocating to Queensland from interstate, particularly to South East Queensland. This is in no small part a result of our neighbours to the south finally realising that Brisbane has just as much to offer as Sydney and Melbourne. The fact that Brisbane will now be the next Australian city to host what is arguably the largest international event on the global calendar, is further testament to this and could likely fuel further relocations from interstate.

Additionally, the level of service and product offerings we are now seeing across South East Queensland pubs has improved remarkably over recent years, to the point that many establishments can find themselves in direct comparison to established venues in Sydney or Melbourne. Pubs will always work on improving their patron experience and honing their skills, so that in 2032 when the Olympics are on our doorstep they will be in a position to push the industry to a whole new level.

If you think your pub is positioned to capitalise on what we anticipate will be some strong performing years for the industry, then a primary consideration should be the physical footprint of your venue. You may wish to consider whether you need to expand the size of your premises, or perhaps vary the layout of your licensed area. For example, you may decide to add a whole new sports bar, or alternatively, increase the size of your existing sports bar by reducing the size of your dining area. These types of works will require the approval of the OLGR. There are different types of applications depending on the nature of the variation you are seeking. Dramatic changes to your premises could also require the preparation of a Community Impact Statement. We are experts in dealing with all nature of OLGR applications, big or small, and will be happy to discuss any expansion plans with you.

It is also worth noting that in the longer term, as the Olympics draw much closer, there may be pressure on pubs, and therefore the regulator, to review the potential for increasing trading hours during the weeks that the games are held. Not only will there be a large increase to patronage during these weeks but many of these patrons will be foreigners who are used to their local venues trading at much later hours.

In conclusion, we anticipate that the 2032 Olympics will bring with it a great deal of opportunity for the pub industry. The 11 year wait we are currently faced with will pass quickly for most and no doubt there may be some consideration given to trading conditions during the games, and in the immediate lead in to them.

“The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication.”
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