By Elliott Brennan
With Sydney set to host the annual Australian University Games in September, concerns have been raised that The City of Sydney and the NSW Government have not done enough to prepare.
As the games is the largest yearly multi-sport event in Australia, a source at a Sydney university told City Hub there are growing concerns that the seven thousand estimated participants would not receive adequate return for the $10 million they are expected to put through Sydney coffers.
Traffic and congestion is an obvious concern surrounding any major tourism event and the lack of visible action from both the City of Sydney and Transport for NSW was the catalyst for the largest concerns raised, according to the source.
In dialogues held with both the Queensland Government and the Gold Coast City Council, who hosted the event last year, City Hub found that this apparent inaction was not unusual. The Gold Coast Council worked as a sponsor of the games and on small logistics, and the Queensland Office of Transport and Main Roads played no organisational role.
“We were not a part of the transport options for the games,” said a spokesperson for Scott Emerson, Minister for Transport and Main Roads.
The games’ founding body Australian University Games (AUG) will take on the majority of the responsibility for transporting the athletes to and from the events with an extensive shuttle service to all of the sporting venues not within walking distance from a major railway station. The shuttles will run on loops, some as often as every 25 minutes.
“As in previous years’ AUGs, we will be providing a bus loop from the particular social venue each night past the accommodation locations. This transport option will be available to all AUG accredited participants,” said Mark Lockie, project manager at AUG.
Accommodation arrangements for the seven thousand athletes has also been a cause for concern among students.
“Each university is responsible for making its own accommodation arrangements for the AUGs. From the booking information we have to date, the accommodation booked by universities is almost entirely in the CBD and Darling Harbour area,” said Mr Lockie.
A Transport Management Centre (TMC) spokesperson said Transport for NSW is working on ensuring the Games do not cause congestion problems in Sydney, however it appears plans have not been finalised.
“Transport for NSW’s Transport Management Centre helps coordinate the traffic and transport arrangements for hundreds of events across the state each year and is currently developing plans for the Australian University Games,” the spokesperson said.
“There are already well-established public transport links with the Sydney Olympic Park precinct where many of the sports will be played, and the TMC is working with event organisers and other relevant government agencies to ensure transport arrangements contribute to the overall success of the AUGs.”
The 2014 Australian University Games will be held in Sydney from September 28th to October 3rd.