Lasting Legacy for Sydney

The following letter was shared with us recently. It was written by Sandy Hollway, the former CEO of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games Organising Committee, in response to a suggestion made by an article which appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on January 31st, 2007. The response was not published by the S.M.H.
– Peter Konnecke (Webmaster)

Dear Sir,

Given the amount that has happened in the past six years, it is hardly plausible to blame the alleged decline in the New South Wales economy on the spending for the Olympic Games (SMH 31 January).

The net cost of the Olympic Games to the New South Wales Government was, for the biggest event on earth, a creditably low $1.3 billion spread over the years of preparation. The event itself was financed largely from around $2.6 billion obtained from broadcast rights, sponsorship, ticket sales and merchandise. The private sector contributed $1.1 billion of the $3 billion of construction costs.

In fact, for this investment, Australia gained an increase to GDP estimated at $6 billion. We acquired the world-class sporting venues which a growing Sydney needed for community use, as well as commercial benefit. The Games stimulated inward investment and export, and Australia has become an impressive supplier of smart services to other events around the world. The Games dramatically elevated Sydney’s international brand and recognition as the Anholt-GMI index shows.

In any event, it is recognised these days that the Games need to be evaluated on the basis of a triple bottom line — economic, social and environmental. The Olympics was the catalyst for large-scale remediation at Sydney Olympic Park, and necessary infrastructure development such as the Eastern Distributor.

What ,I think, is true is that maximising the legacy from the Olympics requires a sustained, aggressive follow-through –in the development of new tourism product, high-quality architecture and building, infrastructure investment, environmental innovation, and so on. We could probably have used a bit more of that since the Games, but the legacy has still been overwhelmingly positive.

People are entitled to feel very good about the Sydney Olympics for cold, hard objective reasons, not just the fact that it was a great party.

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